EAL at Westmorland Primary School
EAL in the National Curriculum
There is no specific EAL curriculum, instead the DfE expect that effective teaching and learning for learners using EAL happens through the National Curriculum:
4.5 Teachers must also take account of the needs of pupils whose first language is not English. Monitoring of progress should take account of the pupil’s age, length of time in this country, previous educational experience, and ability in other languages.
4.6 The ability of pupils for whom English is an Additional Language to take part in the national curriculum may be in advance of their communication skills in English. Teachers should plan teaching opportunities to help pupils develop their English and should aim to provide the support pupils need to take part in all subjects.
The Government defines EAL learners as:
‘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. This measure is not a measure of English language proficiency or a good proxy for recent immigration.’ (DfE Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics July 2020)
At Westmorland, we have more and more children arriving with English as an additional language, or, in some cases, with no English. Westmorland welcomes children at different entry points during their primary journey. Our aim is to settle the children as quickly as possible, into school life; to encourage them to take part in the daily routines and structures, which will help them to develop, not only an understanding of the academic aspects of English, but the use of our language as a social interaction. It is our aim that for pupils, who are learning English as an additional language, to have their home culture, language and background recognised and valued. At Westmorland, we aim to be MORE, learn MORE and apply MORE in every lesson. We aspire to deliver Memorable Learning and Experiences, whilst increasing Oracy and Reading skills as much as possible.
We work with parents/guardians to ensure a smooth transition into school, with translators on hand (through the Big Word) to assist us, at our entry interview, to find out details about the children’s past school experiences, their preferred methods of learning, their previous exposure to English, and any traumatic experiences that the children might have had. We believe that this interview is vital to enable us to help the children settle into their new environment as smoothly as possible.
There are currently thirty one different languages and 73 EAL pupils (14.6%) that attend Westmorland primary school all of which have varying levels of English language.
On arrival to school, our new EAL children are shown around the school and given a welcome pack. This includes images of the school, the school layout, and photographs of key members of staff within school. The children are assessed using the N.A.S.S.E.A. EAL assessment framework. This helps us to establish an initial progress level and to set targets. From that point the children’s Speaking; Listening and Understanding; Reading and Viewing and Writing are reassessed and new targets set on a termly basis. Those children who are new to English are assessed on a more regular basis, to keep a closer eye on their progress, and to ensure that their targets are constantly updated, in the expectation that they will make rapid progress once they are exposed on a daily basis, to the English language.
Children are grouped according to their proficiency in English. Those children who are New to English (Band A) or are in the Early Acquisition group (Band B) are often supported through a Bilingual Assistant (BA Support) once a week over a term and further support is offered through the Ethnic Diversity Team. With our new EAL arrivals Initial Language assessments are carried out through the Ethnic Diversity Team and our SALT team carry out a Language Link assessment. From this, targets are set and reviewed regularly.
At Westmorland, we strive to support our Ethnic Diversity families in other ways. Some of our families struggle due to the language barrier. We offer support with any medical or social needs. Using the ‘Big Word’, we arrange for translators to help us book medical appointments and fill out important forms. We also support our families by giving out food hampers.
Because of our early, and ongoing intervention, children are supported in their learning, at appropriate levels across their primary career. Our EAL assessment and monitoring procedures facilitate the children’s learning in all the other areas of the curriculum. Our children become more confident in Speaking and taking part in class discussions. They become valuable and valued members of our school community, taking an active part in both school and after-school activities. They add an extra dimension to all our lives, enriching us through their different cultures, religions, languages, and their experiences of the world.