“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” – Frank Smith
At The Halley Academy every teacher is a teacher of EAL. The EAL curriculum aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills and experiences which will enable them to participate actively in the world around them. We strive to develop the whole person and broaden students’ horizons through exploring culture, in addition to enabling students to build confidence and skill in manipulating the English language and its grammar in a variety of contexts. Throughout the learning journey, we actively celebrate the range of cultures and the languages our students speak at home and encourage them to make connections with the languages they already know.
Our Strategies for Supporting EAL
Pillars of Literacy:
To address the EAL needs of our students, we focus on six key strategies across the curriculum. These six pillars incompass strategies that are deemed the most essential to the supporting of EAL in every subject:
- Know the Students – resources will be provided to staff to more easily identify their students and their literacy and EAL needs;
- Modelling Language – providing students with role models in first language (in class or if in another year group, through a reading partnership), teachers modelling language in lessons, structured practice of language, opportunities to talk with peers;
- Dual Coding/Visual Cues – the use of graphic organisers and images to support learning;
- Key Vocabulary – access to glossaries, access to bilingual dictionaries, identification of key words, word walls, all activities that identify the meaning of words that may be unknown to students;
- Scaffolding Writing – sentence starters, substitution tables, whole text guides or proformas;
- Peer/Self Assessment – students need the tools to be able to find and correct errors in their own and others’ work.
For the purposes of supporting our EAL students most effectively, we follow the 2016 DfE Proficiency Scale to identify the level of need for every student.
Intervention lessons are provided to students by the New Arrivals Team, targeting students identified as New to English (Code A) and Early Acquisition (Code B).
For EAL students in Key Stage 3, the New Arrivals Team follows a bespoke curriculum for English acquisition, as we believe language study should also teach students about different cultures, traditions and ways of life in the world. Upon starting at the academy, students sit a baseline test to assess their level of proficiency. Students are then either fully immersed in all lessons, or are withdrawn from some lessons for further support. Our curriculum aims to enable students to experience success in both transactional and academic English. Our unit plans are deliberately designed to incorporate opportunities for students to experience and understand different cultures and ways of life in addition to understanding the intricacies of the language itself and teachers adapt this to the needs and interests of pupils each year.
As far as possible, we want students to have access to the full suite of subjects on offer at Key Stage 4. If however, a student joins the academy during the Key Stage 4 course of study, they follow some core subjects and also sit the Cambridge KET and PET examinations. Students at all levels of proficiency in all key stages are supported in their learning by class teachers, with the focus being vocabulary acquisition.
The Academy LRC (Learning Resource Centre)
Our LRC is the heart of the academy, as a centre for both developing literacy and improving research skills. Every student in Year 7-9 receives a lesson in the library once a week, and the library is open to all students during break, lunch, and after school.
The LRC collection is over 9000 books strong, with a range of both fiction and non-fiction texts. At the academy we place a large importance on the development of students’ first language, along with English, so we have a Foreign Language section with over 70 titles, which continues to grow.
Additional Online Resources:
The following websites are a great starting point for additional literacy support in both reading writing, and listening skills:
MyON Digital Library:
The academy has a subscription to the MyON Digital Library which features over 8000 books, along with daily news articles in English, French, and Spanish.
This fantastic website was created by the National Literacy Trust for students aged 13 and over. It includes workshops for reading writing, as well as speaking and listening, even a functional skills section for people aged over 16.
A series of fun videos to help teens improve their reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, and vocabulary skills.
While the site may say it is for KS2, anyone can use these fun interactive games and quizzes to improve their spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
A series of games to develop spelling and grammar, writing, reading, and poetry skills.
The Oak National Academy features several lessons in a range of subjects. In English KS3, there are several lessons in a section called ‘Recapping the Basics’ which focus on spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and grammar.
This site features videos of students reading to their peers. Often, it has abridged (shorter) versions of classic novels.
This website features the text of many classic novels and poems with accompanying audiobooks, which are free to listen to.
It’s a modest proposal: create an online eBook library of every out of copyright text in the world. Seems overwhelming, right? Well the folks at Project Gutenberg have set about creating just that, and have over 60,000 titles already available on their site. This also includes novels in foreign languages.
This website features thousands of amazing audio books which can be narrowed down by age group or genre. Just click and start listening to a free 30 day trial.
TED Talks are known around the world as opportunities for experts to discuss their knowledge in an engaging talk that is then available on their website. TED Education is their website specifically for students and educators. Students can search or browse for content on any subject. It’s excellent for developing listening and comprehension skills.