What is EAL?
EAL learners are those whose first language is other than English, where first language is defined by the Department for Education (DfE) as 'The language to which a child was initially exposed during early development and continues to be exposed in the home or in the community'. Regardless of how long they have been in the country, they will remain EAL students for the rest of their lives.
Our pupils come from very diverse backgrounds with over 30 different languages spoken at the school. Languages spoken at Merrill, Some are recently arrived asylum seekers with no or very little previous education, some are families coming to the UK as economic migrants, while others are second or third generation UK born and raised advanced bilingual learners.
Currently over 30% of our EAL pupils speak English as an Additional Language and they come from 34 different countries. Due to the diversity of backgrounds, varying levels of previous education and different stages of language acquisition, all of our children are unique with their own specific needs. Our dedicated team try to address these needs to ensure that no child is disadvantaged due to their lack of English, and that all of our children are empowered to reach their full potential.
New to English Programme
To ensure these students settle as quickly and smoothly as possible, from September we are introducing a 2‘New to English Programme’.
Students are assessed against 3The Bell Foundation assessment system. https://www.bell-foundation.org.uk/app/uploads/2018/07/EAL-Assessment-Framewrok-for-Schools-Secondary.pdf
If a student is at an ‘A’ (New to English) or ‘B’ (Early acquisition) stage, they stay in the Language Lab for an induction programme.
This is a period of a maximum of six weeks where they follow a scheme of a survival language programme, which is later supplemented by a phonics and curriculum pathway. All of this done in a fun and interactive way using the ‘Learning Village’. www.learningvillage.net
After this, they ‘graduate’ into mainstream lessons, while still receiving support through intervention sessions, and regular tracking of progress.
English for Speakers of Other Languages or ESOL refers to learning English as a new resident in an English-speaking country. Those students who arrive at a later stage with no or very limited English are offered an ESOL course (Entry1, 2 and 3) as part of their KS4 options to enable them to leave with an internationally recognised qualification. This course helps our learners to gain English literacy for use in education, employment and everyday life. They will study the City and Guilds specifications https://www.cityandguilds.com/qualifications-and-apprenticeships/skills-for-work-and-life/english-mathematics-and-ict-skills/4692-esol-skills-for-life#tab=information
We have set up an EAL Champions programme within the school, where all curriculum areas are represented by a member of staff. They receive ongoing trainings on how to best implement the recommended strategies https://www.bell-foundation.org.uk/app/uploads/2017/09/Classroom-Support-Strategies-Secondary.pdf
to improve students’ attainment, which they are then required to feed back to the rest of their teams.
For the past 4 years, we have been running the successful ‘Young Interpreters’ www.emtas.hias.hants.gov.uk
scheme, which is similar to a buddy system. This scheme is accredited and after finishing the training, pupils receive an official badge and a certificate, enabling them to use their languages skills to support their newly arrived peers and their families during social times, parents’ evenings and any other school events.
Useful EAL resources: