English as an Additional Language (EAL)
Learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) at Walthamstow School for Girls is based on an ethos and philosophy which aims to use all facilities for effective and fulfilling educational participation, and support teaching and learning. EAL provision is part of the school’s specialised inclusive provision to ensure all students experience an enjoyable learning and teaching experience.
EAL provision is led by the EAL Co-ordinator and support is provided through the Language and Learning Development team under the strategic guidance and supervision of the Head of the LLD Faculty and the Leadership Team. Mainstream subject teachers are responsible for the education and attainment of all students including all EAL students, and pastoral provision is co-ordinated by Student Progress Leaders. EAL support staff work collaboratively and in partnership with subject teachers to enable the delivery of support for students with the aim of achieving maximum impact of our EAL interventions.
EAL staff aim to work through relevant Continuing Professional Development, collaborative partnerships and team planning and they provide advice and guidance for teaching staff to equip them with appropriate baseline information and an understanding of EAL data to inform planning and tracking of EAL student progress. Teaching staff are encouraged and supported in using effective planning and differentiation to ensure that personalised learning and teaching styles are employed to provide for all EAL students across the school. Walthamstow School for Girls is a thriving comprehensive girls’ school with a strong reputation for providing the highest quality educational opportunities in an inclusive student environment.
The student population at Walthamstow School for Girls comprises students from a range of linguistic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Nearly 50% of the total school population have English as an additional language and 3% of students are at the very early stages of EAL acquisition. There are a small number of mid-phase admissions to the school, the majority of whom are new arrivals to the country and are in different stages of learning English as an additional language.
School Experience of working with EAL specialist staff
There are 35 different languages spoken in the school. Walthamstow School for Girls promotes a sense of the value and importance of these languages and aims to ensure that no student is placed at a disadvantage due to her linguistic and cultural background.
This is provided through a very thorough and effective EAL Mid-Phase Admissions and Induction Programme, consisting of initial interview, baseline assessment in core subjects and induction period. A detailed analysis of baseline data and strategic advice on supporting a new EAL student is available to all teaching staff. This information is used in teachers’ planning, target setting, assessment and evaluation of student outcomes. EAL data is incorporated into the school’s data system and analysed to inform EAL support throughout the school. EAL students’ engagement and sense of personal achievement is high.
Potential barriers to a new learning environment due to linguistic and cultural differences and previous learning experiences are also addressed by our student “buddy” system and tutor support for newly arrived students.
The EAL team works closely with the Examinations Officer and the Data Manager in order to identify and support bilingual students in achieving a GCSE grade in their first language.
The EAL team works closely with the Examination Officer and Learning Development team to ensure that appropriate arrangements and support are in place to enable EAL students to access formal assessments and GCSE Examinations (e.g. extra time, bilingual dictionary use etc.).
At Walthamstow School for Girls integration of EAL students, irrespective of their English language proficiency, age or previous schooling, into mainstream classes is the standard practice. This is because we believe that EAL students learn best in the mainstream classroom with a full curriculum. All staff have awareness and a clear understanding of the different EAL progress of students in the school, their diverse needs and their individual as well as collective responsibility for the outcomes of learners irrespective of their EAL acquisition stage.