Island School EAL Department
For many students at Island School, English is a second or even third language. We recognize and admire the skills shown by these students and value their other languages.
The EAL Department [Teachers and Educational Assistants] provides support within mainstream and through Supplementary Studies classes for Year 7 – Year 12. In addition, Island School has an EAL Centre for students who need an intensive period of language development before joining the mainstream curriculum
The Department aims to help students with EAL needs to achieve their full potential within the curriculum and to participate fully in school life. We try to promote an understanding of these students’ needs on the part of mainstream teachers, and to celebrate their achievements. To help achieve this, we play a role in the settling-in process, especially where students are coming from CMI schools or schools whose culture is quite different from that of the ESF.
- To promote a whole school awareness of EAL students’ needs which are the responsibilities of each teacher.
- To support students in taking responsibility for their own language learning and encouraging the motivation required to achieve successful ‘autonomous learner’ status.
- To help EAL students feel both secure and challenged in all areas of school life.
- To support other departments when developing an EAL dimension to their schemes of work.
Identification of EAL students and their needs
- To identify students who may have EAL needs.
- To analyse those needs.
- To inform all relevant teachers and also parents of those needs.
- To assist subject teachers with strategies to help EAL students.
- To provide direct support for students with needs which cannot be met by those strategies alone.
- To help EAL students to develop a working knowledge of the structure of the English language.
- To teach skills necessary for independent learning.
- To develop EAL students’ skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Assessment, Monitoring and Recording
- To maintain records of direct support.
- To monitor progress in mainstream classes through targets for language development agreed with the student.
- To monitor progress in the EAL Centre by maintaining a portfolio of the students’ work across the curriculum.
Procedures / Strategies
Students are initially screened through the IS/ESF admissions procedure.
Non ESF partner primary
An EAL teacher visits our partner primary schools in the Spring term. The Department liaises with IS teaching staff to identify students who have EAL needs as they progress through the school.
- Analysis of admissions material and it is hoped - the ICAS tests.
- Observation during in-class support.
- Collection and analysis of examples of students’ work.
- Discussion with subject teacher.
- Discussion with Vice Principal, Heads of House and Form Tutors.
Intervention Indirect support
- Attending other departmental meetings to discuss strategies e.g. the development of key words and glossaries.
- Discussion with individual subject teachers to develop appropriate strategies to help students within their teaching groups.
Direct in-class support is open to all subject areas
- Members of the EAL Department and Educational Assistants are time-tabled to help students in the mainstream classroom with the language aspect of the work ongoing in the subject supported.
- The EAL Teacher may encourage the student to study specific language points at home or to get help during lunchtimes in the EAL Centre.
- Where appropriate, the EAL Teacher may develop and supply differentiated materials such as vocabulary sheets, comprehension questions and tasks.
- The EAL Teacher will encourage students to be active in their own learning through:
- the use of MOW and vocabulary sheets in their diaries.
- recommending reading material, listening material, videos.
- offering lunctime support, advice and activities in the EAL Centre.
Years 8 and 9
After consultation with the Modern Languages Department and the SLT it was agreed that the needs of the EAL students in Year 9 both in mainstream and in the EAL Centre would best be met by continuing to develop their English language skills during MFL 1/2 lessons. The EAL alternative is tailor-made to suit the needs of each EAL student. They have the choice of EAL instead if MFL1 and 2 [5 lessons per week], EAL instead of MFL1 [3 lessons per week] and therefore starting MFL2, or EAL instead of MFL2 [2 lessons per week] which enables the student to continue with MFL1 if appropriate.
The EAL programme of study includes the teaching of writing skills and English grammatical structures, the development of vocabulary and development of listening and reading skills. It also provides an opportunity to pre-teach subject specific vocabulary and to review work from other subjects.
Some mainstream EAL students and those leaving the EAL Centre in Y10 take 8 instead of 9 GCSEs and instead join the English Enrichment class. The main focus for these students is on coping with the demands of the KS4 curriculum through pre-teaching vocabulary and consolidating the use of new vocabulary, developing study skills and helping students to keep up with homework and coursework. These students also receive direct teaching of language skills. They are also given the opportunity to sit the IGCSE ESL examination.
The EAL Department is responsible for the IB self–taught and English B courses. Members of the department also teach A1 English. Academic English writing classes have been offered after school. Island School Advanced Diploma students are supported by the department when necessary and an IGCSE ESL course is offered to new students who do not have a qualification in English.
There are currently 2 Educational Assistants working in the EAL Department, providing a total of 24 lessons of support. Korean and Japanese assistants have in the past spent 6 lessons per week translating other departments’ glossaries and key notes for students. It is hoped that this work will continue in the future with Educational Assistants who are speakers of other languages.
The EAL Centre
Island School established a full-time English language immersion class within the school in September 1996. The class is intended to help students who have failed the English admission test but who have the potential to achieve the level of proficiency required by the mainstream curriculum. Each student experiences intensive English language tuition of approximately 10 periods per week at various times throughout the day. For the remaining periods, the students are integrated into mainstream lessons.
The students work as a class, in small groups or individually, on work that is relevant to them. Language develops best in a variety of rich contexts, so the Centre students are constantly engaged in meaningful activities whereby writing tasks are incorporated with class discussion and reading. The second language, like the first, develops globally, not piecemeal so the students are never expected to work on isolated drills and exercises.
The Centre’s programme aims to assist students not only to develop their language proficiency, but also to enhance their learning in content areas. The students, once they have been accepted fully into the school’s mainstream, should thereafter be able to successfully access the curriculum whilst continuing their second language development.
The EAL Centre students are assessed in relation to their progress through a portfolio system. Each student chooses and compiles in their portfolio work from both the Centre and their other subjects. First drafts are collected together with the final copy. At parent / teacher meetings the portfolio is used to demonstrate student work and progress in the Centre.
The Centre students are also included in the whole school reporting system so all their teachers then have the opportunity to report back to parents. The EAL Centre teachers liaise with subject teachers to decide both on the content that is covered in the Centre and to decide when a student is ready to join mainstream. Occasionally, students may repeat a year in mainstream if they did not join the school at the beginning of the academic year. This is recommended after discussions with subject teachers, pastoral staff, the parents and the students themselves.
The year groups of the students in the EAL Centre can vary from one academic year to another. Initially it catered only for Year 9 but since then has received students from Year 7 to Year 11. Generally, the EAL Centre students are time-tabled to attend 10 lessons each week. During the other 10 they attend mainstream classes, which always include Science, PE and Maths, with the other students in their tutor group. The Centre teacher periodically consults with subject teachers in relation to the students’ progress and it is through a system of ongoing evaluation that a student is judged ready to move fully into mainstream from the Centre.
The EAL in the Mainstream Course
This course consists of 10 sessions each 2 – 3 hours long. All teachers used to be asked to complete the course. Kay Church is a trainer as well as 2 teachers from other Departments. Its aim was to change the traditional perception of EAL students, to develop an awareness of their needs across the curriculum and to provide strategies to meet those needs. Most Departments have at least one teacher who has completed the course.
An EAL Induction day has also been offered to all new staff.