‘A pupil is recorded to have English as an additional language if they are exposed to a language at home that is known or believed to be other than English.’ DfE 2020
Bearwood is an ethnically diverse community school, with over a third of pupils having English as an additional language and more than thirty languages spoken.
We aim to ensure that our curriculum and the resources we use are tailored to reflect the ever-changing community that we serve. We work with the local authority EAL advisor, local organisations, such as RISC, and community groups to support us in this endeavour.
We value and respect pupils’ first language and understand that bilingualism and multilingualism can have intellectual advantages. We therefore encourage children and their families to maintain their first language and use it to support their learning at Bearwood.
We aim to ensure that all EAL children have equal access to the curriculum and other educational opportunities.
Newly arrived EAL children from abroad with little or no English
Our first priority is the wellbeing of EAL new arrivals as we want them to feel happy, safe and secure in school.
Once a child has settled, an initial language assessment will be carried out to find out their level of English and what support they will need to access the curriculum.
We use Racing to English and other resources such as PMP Language Builder and Colourful Semantics to help children learn basic English vocabulary and sentences. If a child is literate in their first language we will also use DuoLingo to support them to learn English.
Research shows that EAL new arrivals learn English best by being in the mainstream classroom and learning English in context. For this reason, EAL children will spend most of the time in the classroom learning alongside the rest of the class but with extra support as required. For instance, we will use pictures, visual word-mats, diagrams, video clips and objects; bilingual resources/ dictionaries, extra adult support and Google Translate to support access to the curriculum.
EAL learners’ language development and progress will be tracked until they are working at National Curriculum levels in English and Maths.
More Advanced EAL Learners.
Most children will become conversationally fluent in a new language within two years but it can take between five and ten years to develop the more academic language needed to succeed in the education system. At Bearwood, we therefore recognise that more advanced learners of English may need continuing EAL support to achieve their potential.
EAL learners will follow the same curriculum as the rest of the class but they may be given extra support with reading comprehension and writing, especially using verb tenses.
To Read: Reading University – The Benefits of Multilingualism in the family