At Britannica, we respect and value each child’s linguistic and cultural diversity. We recognise the importance of individuality, and we ensure that our EAL provision reflects this. We are aware that each child is at a different stage in their language learning journey and so we are proactive and responsive to meeting the individual needs of our students.
English as an Additional Language (EAL) is offered to students from non-native English-speaking backgrounds who require support with the language requirements of their mainstream classes. The programme aims to support and develop students’ proficiency in all areas of learning.
Our EAL provision offers students that are new to English targeted intervention in a small group setting. Within these lessons, students learn survival language, communication, basic sentence structures and vocabulary to help them communicate and follow instructions within their classrooms. There is also a strong focus on phonics within these groups.
Students with an intermediate range of proficiency build on their literacy skills through a combination of EAL withdrawal lessons and in-class support by an EAL Specialist. Lessons often run parallel (but outside of) mainstream English lessons. Students complete similar tasks to their mainstream peers but benefit from differentiated instruction and modified tasks. Within these groups, there is also regular revision of foundational grammar skills as well introductions to more advanced grammatical features.
Within EAL, we use a combination of assessment data and professional judgement to inform us on whether students require EAL support.
At the start of the academic year, the initial step is to allow students some time to adjust and settle into their new class, this period allows class teachers time to interact with students and complete some baseline assessments.
The EAL Department uses the award-winning Bell Foundation’s EAL Assessment Framework for Schools, consisting of 2 separate sets of rating scales: one for Primary school and one for Secondary school. The scales represent English language proficiency ranging from A to E (A-New to English, B-Early acquisition, C-Developing competence, D-Competent, E-Fluent). Class teachers use these scales to complete an audit of students’ English proficiency.
Our EAL specialists review this audit and discuss potential candidates for EAL with the form teacher at primary or the English teacher at secondary.
For the final step of the identification process, we use WIDA’s screener assessment. This assessment is designed specifically to help educators identify EAL students in need of language support. Students who score low within this assessment are recommended for support by the English as an Additional Language (EAL) Department.
Progress within the EAL support programme is monitored on an ongoing basis through a combination of formative and summative assessments. In addition, class teachers at Primary and English teachers at Secondary complete a quarterly audit of all English as an Additional Language learners across the school.
If a student within the EAL programme is at or nearing the English language proficiency to exit from EAL support, they complete the WIDA Model progress and placement assessments. Student scores in this assessment help us to determine if they have an appropriate grade-level proficiency in English to exit EAL.
Here at Britannica, we seek to build and promote self-confident language learners. EAL is a supportive and nurturing environment for new students, in which they can experience success and develop confidence in English. Confidence breeds positive feelings about school and reinforces for students that progressing their English skills is possible. Britannica is much more than academic success, however, and the confidence and skills that students learn in EAL are transferable to the many other experiences offered at our school. It is always a joy to see our EAL students perform on stage during assemblies, take part in school concerts or participate in school sports, where effective communication and articulation are required.