English as an Additional Language
Every year many pupils come to North Beckton Primary School from different countries and with diverse experiences and backgrounds. We aim to provide a secure and welcoming environment for each one of them as well as to have an effective provision to meet their educational needs.
Pupils are encouraged to use and share their knowledge of other languages so they can maintain or develop a sense of cultural identity. As a school we are proud to celebrate throughout the year our rich linguistic diversity - 47 different languages! – and our multicultural heritage. Activities such as Black History Month, Refugee Week, a Carnival and a multicultural event provide great opportunities for the pupils to share and enjoy different experiences across our school.
All EAL learners are different
There is not one kind of EAL learner, so just one teaching approach will not meet everybody’s learning needs. Some of our pupils are able to switch between English and their first language easily. Many are fluent in conversational English but need some help with learning and using academic language. Others have little or no English and initially they may need a lot of encouragement and emotional support. Like any other learners, a few EAL pupils may also need support from outside agencies such as Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy or Learning Support Services.
EAL is about helping pupils to learn, even though the curriculum is not been taught in their first language.
How the school can help
Shortly after a pupil’s arrival at our school, an experienced member of the EAL team assesses the student to establish his/her level of knowledge and skills as well as how well he or she can understand and use the English language. Progress is monitored consistently. EAL provision takes place mainly in the classroom where the pupil will spend most of his/her time. Teachers provide quality first teaching - with many planned opportunities to develop speaking, listening and understanding to ensure all pupils have equal access to the curriculum.
For those with no or very limited English, extra group sessions are put in place three times a week focusing on speaking, listening, vocabulary building and word recognition. Structured, time-limited interventions such as Reading Recovery, Fischer Family Trust Wave 3 and Better Reading Partnership are also provided – as recommended by the Northen Association of Support Services for Equality and Achievement (nassea) - for those with some command of the English language.
The EAL team is responsible for raising the achievement of ethnic groups within the school. They work in partnership with all year groups to support, plan and differentiate lessons for the pupils who arrive at school with little or no English. Initially, bilingual support staff or family volunteers play an important role by modelling spoken language. If parents speak little or no English, we provide them with a bilingual picture dictionary.
A buddy system operates to welcome all new pupils and to help them settle into their new school. Also, at lunchtime, some EAL pupils are paired up with older ones to read and discuss appropriate levelled books.
Many of our pupils have recently arrived in this country. Our priority is to make the transition as smooth as possible for them and their families. We hold coffee mornings and provide a variety of courses to help parents to support their children with reading, writing and comprehension. Every day there is also a Reading Club running before and after school. Parents attend weekly with their child for an individual 15-minute slot to observe their child reading, answering questions about a book or learning new vocabulary with a specialist teacher. This is followed by a discussion between parent, pupil and teacher about the focus for the following week’s session.
What parents /reading volunteers say about our courses…
‘My expectations were exceeded. I was not expecting the course to be so good, informative, interesting and useful’
‘The best part was learning strategies to help the children, little things that make a huge difference’
‘I believe I know now how to support and assist my boy to improve his reading skills. I am able to choose the accurate book right for his reading level’
‘Enjoyed the course. Very happy I attended. I would recommend to everybody! Thank you!