The student population at Grove Academy comprises students from a range of linguistic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Over 77% of the secondary school population have English as an additional language (EAL). EAL provision is part of the school’s inclusive provision to ensure all students experience an enjoyable learning and teaching experience.
The aim of the EAL department is to empower all EAL learners to experience success in all areas of school life. We also aim to teach English to a standard whereby the pupils can access the whole of the Grove Academy curriculum, and secondly to provide a caring, supportive and welcoming environment wherein the newly arrived students can feel safe and comfortable as well as feel confident and free to express themselves in English, regardless of their background or level of language skills in English. The aim is achieved through taking account of each child’s life experiences and individual needs. As a school we will value the diversity, culture, language and heritage of all pupils. We celebrate all major events and festivals belonging to a diverse range of faiths, beliefs and cultural identities.
Our EAL children are assessed on entry to the school, using the Bell Foundation EAL assessment framework which adopts the DFE five A-E band. This helps us to establish an initial progress level and to set targets, along with teachers. From that point the children’s Speaking; Listening and Understanding; Reading and Writing are reviewed on a termly basis. Those children who are new to English are reviewed on a more regular basis, in order to keep a closer eye on their progress, in the expectation that they will make rapid progress once they are exposed to the English language, on a daily basis.
The five stages of English language proficiency are:
Each stage contains 10 internal descriptors that are used to set targets, monitor progress and better address the language learning need for ALL EAL learners (https://www.bell-foundation.org.uk/eal-programme/eal-assessment-framework/levels-of-proficiency-in-english/ ).
The EAL department offers a variety of small group interventions to our KS3 and KS4 learners with little or no English. Learners attending these interventions are withdrawn from their mainstream lessons for a specific purpose and specific period of time and work on their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. In-class support is also provided to our learners who are new to the language, and who may need additional support in subjects they find challenging. There is also an EAL homework club where students can receive support with their homework, meet EAL staff to discuss any issues they could be having in their lessons, read, and socialise.
Trainee teachers and new members of support staff are also advised and supported with developing their EAL strategies to be confident in delivering quality first teaching. We are determined to create an inclusive culture of learning where all children will be challenged in their thinking, to achieve to the best of their abilities and strive to become life-long learners.
The impact of our ‘all school approach’ to supporting EAL students is measured through a range of different strategies:
Data which is produced from summative tests as well as on-going teacher assessments
Learning walks with focus on differentiation
EAL Pupil surveys
Meetings with parents