Miss H. Thompson – EAL & Teacher of English
Blenheim High School is a larger than average secondary school, with 1370 students on roll. There are more than twenty-five languages spoken at Blenheim High School and eight per cent of our students speak English as an additional language. There are also recent migration trends from Eastern Europe, Asia and South America which have increased the proportion of students who arrive with a very limited knowledge of English.
All pupils need to feel safe, accepted and valued in order to learn. For students who are learning English as an additional language, this includes recognising and valuing their home language and background. As a school, we are aware that bilingualism is a strength and that EAL pupils have a valuable contribution to make. We take a whole school approach, including ethos, curriculum, and education against racism and promoting language awareness.
There are currently 13% EAL students here at Blenheim and we assess their EAL need on their EAL level and previous schooling in English. All low EAL learners are tested when they join the school and are given a range of EAL intervention depending on their proficiency. Some have intense EAL intervention and are withdrawn from Languages, Humanities and Art lessons to give so that they are exposed to as much English language as possible. They also have reading Intervention group every AM tutor. These students are placed back into all lessons once they reach a higher proficiency.
These EAL learners are exposed to a wide range of English grammar and vocabulary through an EAL planned scheme of work. These students also get support with settling into the school and building friendship groups.
Low KS4 EAL learners are encouraged to attend EAL period 6 and 7 lessons every week where they are given opportunities to revise key GCSE skills as well as additional English grammar and vocabulary.
Regular training and support is given to all staff to share ideas and strategies of best practise for promoting the learning and attainment of EAL learners in the classroom.
The EAL provision in school supports, implicitly, the principles of Inclusion and Bilingualism where all students from a wide range of social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, have the right to access the curriculum and participate in all aspects of school life. This is fundamental in ensuring all EAL students make the same good progress as others. All languages and cultures are valued equally.
EAL Support is provided in the following way:
EAL students are given an initial assessment of their level of English fluency which then informs the type of support they would be given.
In Class Support
Identified students are supported in their mainstream classes with the subject teacher. This necessary support addresses the Basic Cognitive Academic Language needs of EAL students.
EAL English Literacy Sessions
KS3 and KS4 EAL students at various stages of language acquisition receive language enrichment lessons once a week where grammar and language are explicitly taught. At KS4, the EAL teacher ensures that students are given additional support in keeping with the English curriculum to strengthen students'’ skills with regards to GCSE assessments.
Exam Preparation and Special Arrangements
Curriculum areas are supported with writing and differentiating papers. Also, in public exams, students may be allowed extra time, and have access to a bilingual dictionary.
Students are given the opportunity and are encouraged to sit an MFL GCSE examination in their home language by the end of year 10.
Monitoring and Evaluation of EAL Student Progress
In order to ensure that progress is being made, targeted EAL students are regularly assessed and targets are set in accordance with the English National Curriculum Levels. Students’ progress is monitored by the EAL teacher.