EAL at Stringer (English as an additional language)
At Dorothy Stringer we have an increasing number of students who have English as an additional language (EAL) and we have a small EAL department who support these children so that their arrival and adaption to school life is as smooth as possible.
We help some students learn English for the first time whilst others need help to improve their English language skills. The staff work with each individual to ensure that they can access the curriculum with as much ease as possible.
Moving to a new school is hard enough but moving to a new country and living with a new culture can be a very scary and lonely experience. However, we have built a department that tries to banish these feelings as quickly as possible. We do this in a number of ways:
On arrival: The student has a brief assessment of their English and Maths skills so that we can judge how best to support them. We try to place the students in the highest possible sets so that they have the best chance of success.
Buddies: the new student is introduced to a number of buddies in their form and year group who are responsible for ensuring that they are looked after. They show their new friend around the school and make sure they don't get lost and they also take care of them during break and lunchtimes so that they are never alone.
Support Staff: The new student is introduced to the support staff who will be working with them. We are not only concerned about improving their use of English but, just as importantly, their general well being in and around school. We work from a room where the EAL pupils know that they can always find a member of the team to help them.
Valuing their First Languages: There are currently 17 students who are on the EAL support register and this group has 10 different languages between them. These languages are valued and, where possible, the students are encouraged to sit a GCSE in their mother tongue. In some cases, a child may have lived in more than one country before coming to England and so will take exams in a number of languages.
A Shared Experience: It is important that the students are able to share their experiences with other people who have been through the same. They are able to do this at EAL club during Wednesday lunchtimes. Here, they can talk about any concerns as well as helping each other to settle into English school life. It is also an opportunity to learn about different countries and cultures around the world.
Sometimes, it only takes a few words to begin the process of understanding a topic in a new language and subject key words can be translated using the following sites:
Our Space for learning: The EAL support room is located at the top of H block opposite E10. It is a compact little space but it is perfect for our needs. Here teachers work on a one-to-one basis with students or with small groups. We have all the resources we need at hand and also the use of a computer. When bigger groups work together we use regular classrooms and the library is also available on request.
Types of support offered: Support is offered on a range of levels and individual needs are taken into account. The EAL students all arrive with a different level of English ability and it is only once we have assessed them that we decide on what support they need. This ranges from English lessons to support with general class work, homework and coursework (yr10). We do all we can to ensure that the transition to their new school is as easy as possible.
Support in Exams: If the pupil has been in England for less than two years they are allowed 25% extra time in their exams. All EAL pupils are allowed to use a bilingual dictionary and can have access to a supported small room rather than sitting in the main exam hall.