The EAL Academy

Congratulations to Wellington School on its Gold EAL Quality Mark

Wellington is a secondary school in Trafford with a very new and growing EAL population, including many students from Hong Kong and Ukraine. It has had to develop its high quality EAL provision very rapidly in recent years.

Responsibility for EAL lies with an Assistant Head who leads on teaching and learning and staff development. A key consequence of that arrangement is the consistency of high quality, EAL friendly pedagogy across classrooms and the very strong sense of ownership of that pedagogy by the middle leaders to whom I spoke. The purpose and importance of flexible seating plans and well organised oral activities were a feature of the classrooms I visited. The curriculum is flexible where necessary. The use of first language in learning is visible and well promoted. Indeed, Year 7 and 8 students teach their own languages as part of MFL’s language carousel.

In addition to the effective mainstream provision, the school makes good use of  Learning Village’s curriculum focussed EAL software. It has100 trained young interpreters and 138 trained buddies. Year 12 students run buddy clubs while other school clubs are perceived as opportunities for making friends and learning English.

 

The relatively recent arrivals to whom I spoke to were clearly very proud of their multilingual skills and deeply appreciative of the provision made for them. They highlighted the importance of:

 

·        working in groups

·        the way that pair/share builds their confidence

·        being challenged to do new things

·        the very supportive approach to diversity

·        the abundance of books

·        lunchtime clubs

·        the highly effective buddy system.

The pupils also talked to me about their languages. For most of them the list was Cantonese, Mandarin and English (with literacy in all three). They also mentioned the French and Spanish that they are learning at school. So that is five languages and five literacies each. One pupil already had five languages prior to learning English, French and Spanish. He was from India and spoke and was literate in Hindi and Telugu. Added to that was his ability to speak and understand Urdu, Gujarati and Bengali.  I was delighted to meet these very talented young people who are being so well nurtured by their wonderful school.

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