English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL)
When parents register their child with the school, they are asked to provide information on additional languages spoken within the home. In this way, we are able to gain a school wide picture of the different languages spoken by our families.
Where a pupil has EAL, we talk to the parents about the pupil’s prior experience with language and education to build up a profile of his or her starting point.
We classify the level of English language that a child currently has to enable us to understand the specific support they will require in school. This will allow for more targeted vocabulary development. For example, a pupil with little or no previous knowledge of English will not have the same needs as a pupil who is proficient in social communication but requires help with more specialist vocabulary.
Picture dictionaries in English and other languages are available in school to support children’s learning.
Word/picture resources are also available for teaching children vocabulary groups such as vegetables or transport.
Quality first teaching is used to support vocabulary development in all pupils, including those with EAL. Teachers think about how they use language and provide a spoken or written ‘model’ of the type of language they want pupils to produce. For example, this might involve introducing vocabulary in context, using key words repeatedly, or providing pupils with written model sentences.
For pupils with EAL, we understand that it is important to be aware of idiomatic or colloquial language that may cause confusion.
Pre-tutoring and post-tutoring is used as a way of developing vocabulary and increasing pupils’ independence in lessons.
- Pre-tutoring involves exposing pupils to relevant vocabulary in advance of a particular session or topic so they have the tools to access it with the rest of the class.
- After the session, a teaching assistant works with the pupils to create a mind map or other representation of the vocabulary. This is known as post-tutoring and is designed to consolidate learning and help to trigger memory.
- 'Precision teaching' is also used to support pupils' vocabulary development. Precision teaching involves short, repetitive sessions of teaching, focusing on a few words or concepts. This aim is to help secure recognition and recall of key vocabulary. All class TAs are trained in this technique.
Support for families
We aim to be able to communicate with all of our families which can sometimes be challenging where their level of English can be a barrier.
Online apps such as ‘Babelfish’ can be deployed to translate written information into another language.
When holding parent meetings, we encourage a family member to attend who may be able to translate discussions where a parent may struggle to understand. Facilities for interpreters can also be arranged where no supporting family member is available.
EAL and SEND (Special Educational Needs/Disabilities)
Different types of SEN can affect vocabulary acquisition in different ways, and that this should be explored as part of a pupil’s SEN assessment.
Pupils who have SEN often have difficulties with working memory (both visual and auditory), which can affect their ability to learn vocabulary at the same rate as their peers.
Some pupils with EAL may also have SEN. The intersection of a pupil's EAL and SEN may affect how easily he or she is able to acquire new vocabulary.
Where it is suspected that a pupil with EAL also has additional learning needs, where we can, we carry out a cognition and learning assessment in the pupil's first language, as well as tracking him or her against key development milestones (this may involve the input of staff/parents who speak the home language).
Assessment should also help to identify any overlap between the pupil’s EAL and his or her SEN. This helps us to decide how best to support the pupil’s vocabulary development.
Tracking of progress is key where a pupil has EAL, his or her rate of progress may be related to language level rather than any SEN.