Mrs. S Henriksson – EAL Practitioner
Blenheim High School is a larger than average secondary school, with 1340 students on roll. There are more than twenty-five languages spoken at Blenheim High School and 12% of our students speak English as an additional language. Following recent migration trends from Eastern Europe, The Middle East, Asia and South America the proportion of students who arrive with a very limited knowledge of English has increased.
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.
When EAL students arrive here at Blenheim, we assess their levels of English and allocate a proficiency level according to The EAL Assessment for Secondary Schools. Students then take part in intense English language programmes and are withdrawn from non-core subjects so that they can receive additional support. These students are placed back into all lessons once they reach a higher proficiency.
EAL learners are exposed to a wide range of English grammar and vocabulary through an EAL planned scheme of work, which is adapted according to need, background and interests. We also link to other subjects and promote a cross-curricular approach to the acquisition of the English language.
KS4 EAL learners are encouraged to attend our weekly homework club, where they are given opportunities to revise key GCSE skills as well as additional English grammar and vocabulary.
In addition, EAL students get support with settling into the school and building friendship groups through lunchtime clubs and after-school cultural celebrations.
Regular training and support is given to all staff to share ideas and strategies of best practice 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 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 will be given.
In Class Support
Identified students are supported in both small groups and in their mainstream classes with the subject teacher. This support addresses the Basic Interpersonal Communicative skills coupled with the Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency needs of EAL students.
EAL English Literacy Sessions
KS3 and KS4 EAL students at various stages of language acquisition receive language enrichment lessons 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 differentiated 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, 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.