2. If EAL acquisition can be discounted is taken into account, and there is concern over progress then there may be external factors in the school, home or community which are impacting upon progress. Here are some questions to answer to help consider this, with supporting information.
· Is the school environment culturally and linguistically inclusive?
· Is the learning context culturally and linguistically inclusive?
· Are appropriate curriculum intervention strategies in place?
· Is there racism or bullying?
· Is the pupil or pupil's family suffering from trauma?
· Have there been gaps in schooling?
· Have parent(s)/ carer(s) been consulted? Has the communication been
The National Strategies and other sources exemplify appropriate strategies to overcome potential linguistic and cultural barriers to achievement. EMAS provide training for teachers, LSAs and other support staff in school. Training materials have been produced - see below.
· Early Years / Foundation Stage - 'Supporting children learning English as an Additional Language' guidance for practitioners ' - ref 00683-2007BKT-EN
· Excellence and Enjoyment for bilingual pupils in the primary years – ref 2006PCK-EN
· Excellence and Enjoyment for Black pupils in the primary years- ref; 00060-2008BKT-EN
· New Arrivals Excellence Programme (primary and secondary phases) - ref; 00426-2007BKT-EN + DVD ref 00426-2007DVD-EN(on teachernet)
· www.suuportingselfevaluation.org offers bench-marks and strategies for self evaluation for is an Ethnic Minority Achievement
Appendix 1 -Learning environment audit -The learning environment audit produced by EMAS with the Healthy Schools team is attached as an appendix to this paper. This was modelled on the audits in the PNS strategies Excellence and enjoyment for Bilingual pupils and Black pupils.
Appendix 2 - Planning for EAL learners– see information from the National Strategies. An EMAS adapted version is attached, the original is in the PNS Excellence and Enjoyment for bilingual pupils
2a . Dealing with Racism, bullying and trauma
· Refer to the school Race Equality Policy to ensure racist incidents are dealt with effectively, with long-term strategies to ensure good race relations in the school and community.
· The Partnership Community Safety Team at 162, North Street, Brighton provides Racial Harassment support for families suffering from racism. Tel: 292735 /291097 or 296777
· A significant number of bilingual learners, e, g refugee pupils, come from troubled or traumatic backgrounds with gaps in schooling. Some pupils or parents are reluctant to disclose trauma, especially when newly arrived. A multi-agency approach will be needed, e.g. school counsellor support, learning mentor support, and the SEAL curriculum and/or intervention programmes.
· Parents may benefit from school referral to Family Learning courses, ESOL classes and local community support information.
2b. Provision of support and intervention in school
· Formal education in the UK starts earlier than in many other countries. Late arrivals in KS1 or 2 may benefit from 'catch up' sessions for development of literacy skills.
· Support from EMAS should not be a barrier to the pupil receiving any other intervention within school.
· EMAS support can be added to the school’s provision mapping as an additional, not a special need.
2c. Effective communication with parent(s) and carer(s)
Parents may need interpreters for parent - teacher consultations, and for any other meetings, e.g. sharing concerns, or annual reviews. EMAS have Arabic and Bengali Home / School Liaison officers who can help. When speaking with an interpreter present, keep information clear and simple and remember that if everything is to be interpreted, the meeting will take longer.
It is important to be aware of the following:
· Parents unused to UK education systems may not be used to being involved with
schools in order to support learning at home. They may think their child has
misbehaved. Clarify the reason the meeting has been called, and why everyone is
· In many cultures, greetings and ‘settling in’ conversation is important. Make sure
everyone in the meeting introduces him or herself, and engage in some non-
threatening ' social talk' to make everyone feel more comfortable
· Make sure parents have a chance to speak and express their opinions. Ask them how they feel about their children, especially at home. Be aware that parents may give you the answer they feel you want, rather than the one you are looking for! Relationships built up over time should address this.
· Discuss the value of supporting first language skills, and the parents’ attitude to this, especially if there are possible Speech and Language difficulties. Parents should not be told to speak English at home, if it not natural for them to do so. They need to be reassured that it is important to continue to speak their home language with their children.
· Meal routines, bedtime routines and homework support routines vary enormously across cultures -you might want to discuss these sensitively with parents/carers.
· Parental awareness and attitudes to ‘Special needs’ will differ across families and
communities. Be aware that some parents may need support and information in
recognising their child’s needs.
· Parents unused to the UK education system are unlikely to understand educational jargon. Terms such as ‘IEP’ or ‘annual review’ will need to be explained.
If both EAL acquisition and external factors are not identified as the main
cause for the pupil’s difficulties, then the logical conclusion is that the pupil
has Special Educational Needs. Appropriate SEN referrals / interventions
can now start to be put in place, following the usual school / LA support
o EAL learners with SEN will continue to benefit from activities which extend vocabulary and improve oral and written skills. EAL specialist teachers can advise further on this.
o A policy of placing EAL pupils with SEN in a year group below their chronological age (backclassing) is not an effective strategy of meeting EAL needs.
3. Further Reading
The following documents are provide practical ideas and are available for
· 'Assessing the Needs of Bilingual Pupils' by Deryn Hall published by David Fulton 2001 (2nd ed) ISBN 1-85346-799-5 - A good basic introduction to the issues around this. It includes a clear summary of the hypotheses for hypothesis testing, a very basic L1 assessment format and some general support strategies.
· 'Bilingual Pupils with Special Educational needs-Assessment and Intervention' by Razia Alpren and Judith McCall Publ. by Herts. County Council Tel: 0152 830215/830317.A much more detailed analysis of available tests and their advantages/disadvantages with special emphasis on Specific Learning Difficulties. There is an excellent Intervention strategies section which puts the EAL and SEN strategies side by side, allowing the SENCO/class teacher to target support more appropriately.
· 'Distinguishing the Difference SEN or EAL?' By Susan Rosamond, Imtiaz Bhatti, Marion Sharieff, Karen Wilson Publ. by Birmingham Advisory and Support Service ISBN 1-898244-72-3.Based on a large longitudinal study of pupils with EAL. A used FAQ section at the front with useful academic research backup for findings.
4. Other sources of support for information about EAL pupils with possible Special Needs:
The Institute of Education has a SEN/EAL support group
· www.NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the
Please contact EMAS for any further information or support you might need. © EMAS 09.
We have a regular training programme at our base at Tilbury House, and also deliver training in situ to schools, staff groups, and other agencies.
Auditing the Learning Environment - adapted from PNS Learning and Teaching for Bilingual Children in the Primary Years
EMAS recommend this is shared with staff some weeks prior to the audit taking place. This gives staff time for discussion, reflections and planning. Some schools have used a ‘traffic-light’ system highlighting with green things well in place, orange for those underway and red for those to develop in future.
Name of School……………………………………….
Name of auditors……………………………………..
Date of audit…………………………………………..
· Multilingual notices welcome parents to ‘school office’, ‘head teacher,’ ‘hall’
· A multilingual display shows languages spoken in the school.
· Visual displays show partnership with all families and communities to support
· Different festivals are celebrated, e.g. Chinese New Year and Eid.
· All displays reflect the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds of all
pupils in content, colour and decoration.
· Displays are initiated by pupils as well as adults and celebrate collaborative as well
· Displays actively challenge stereotypes e.g. race, ethnicity, disability and gender.
· Learning prompts for curriculum and language are included in displays e.g.
multilingual key vocabulary, photographs and diagrams.
· Reading materials include dual language books.
· Reading materials include positive role models form different ethnic backgrounds.
· ICT includes listening posts with books and tapes/CDs, digital cameras and
computer programmes such as Clicker 5
· Resources in classes are labelled pictorially for access by early stage learners.
· Care has been taken to ensure that any late arriving children during the term have
labelled trays, cloakroom labels and other labels.
· There is evidence of flexibility in groupings, including setting and arrangement of
Planning for EAL learners is most effective when:
· it is part of the planning process of the whole school and the whole class and is embedded in the usual planning format
· it takes account of the language demands of the curriculum, both subject-specific vocabulary and the appropriate language forms associated with content
· contexts for learning are relevant, motivating and culturally inclusive
· it provides opportunities for speaking and listening, collaborative work and other strategies for language development
· the role of additional adults with EAL expertise and/or bilingual or multilingual skills is clearly indicated and they are either involved in the planning process or have plans shared with them at the earliest opportunity
· consideration is given to the language of the task, how the children are grouped, use of first language for learning and how both language learning and language use will be assessed.
Planning for EAL learners requires careful consideration of the curriculum context and provision of appropriate scaffolding to enable access to the curriculum. It is also important to identify the academic and cognitive language demanded by the curriculum and to plan for how this will be modelled by adults and peers and the opportunities that will be provided to rehearse and use the language in meaningful contexts.
Research shows that language support is best provided within the curriculum wherever possible, as time out of subject lessons for additional language tuition is ultimately likely to cause the learner to fall further behind in the curriculum.
EAL learners need to hear good models of language from peers and adults. They are more likely to make progress in their language development and learning when working alongside peers with similar cognitive ability and greater linguistic proficiency.
Where bilingual approaches are employed, it is important that the first language is used not only when communication has broken down or just to interpret the occasional difficult word. For conceptual development to occur, children need opportunities to hear and use extended stretches of the language, and where possible, for children to meet new learning first in their strongest language. Children who already know broadly what they are going to hear in the new language will have hooks on which to hang their new learning.
Careful consideration of contexts can support bilingual learners in meeting the demands placed upon them in the classroom or setting. Tasks can be made more, or less, supportive depending on the extent to which they are embedded in a supportive context.
Ways to make contexts more supportive include:
· ensuring that children are able to build on their previous experience
· scaffolding tasks through prompts, frames, graphic organisers, etc.
· providing carefully planned opportunities to listen and speak in a wide range of situations across the curriculum, particularly with more proficient users of first/ additional language.