Featherstone’s pupils speak 31 different languages between them. The staff language count is not much smaller. The visibility of a range of languages around the school in classroom display and in corridors says very clearly to everyone that it is a school which is proud of its diversity. For the new arrivals starting every week, there is an unavoidable and welcoming message that all languages matter. Finding a buddy with a shared language is usually easy. Staff use all of their languages in the classroom.
Alongside a flexible induction programme for new arrivals is consistent class teaching in which other languages are valued and paired talk a frequent feature. Indeed, so accustomed to paired talk are the pupils that even in a 350 pupils Key Stage 2 assembly about refugees, almost every child engaged, starting and ending on cue with paired talk. The school has a language focussed curriculum that means pupils develop a wide vocabulary and increasingly sophisticated ways of using it. Talk frames are as common as writing frames.
Parents are very positive about this school and three of them are employed as parent ambassadors. Parents brought up in very different education systems understand the reasons behind the emphasis on talk for learning and describe teachers as helpful, positive and pro-active.
Almost the last word goes to the pupils. Between them the small group I met spoke and had some literacy in Bengali, Hindi, Italian, Konkani, Punjabi, Somali and Urdu. They also understood the importance of talk in learning.
Featherstone is a very harmonious place. The messages about what it does so well are very consistent. Leaders, teachers, other staff, parents and pupils can all explain why it is a school very worthy of the EAL Quality Mark Gold Award.
The EAL Quality Mark is based on a school’s self-evaluation of its EAL provision. It is an award made to schools on their achievements in meeting the needs of pupils learning English as an additional language.
It is available as a bronze, silver or gold award, allowing schools the opportunity to re-visit the award and build on their practice over time. Any school with pupils on roll who are learning English as an additional language is eligible to apply.
Extended online EAL course
New cohorts launched every term
Requiring approximately 90 hours to complete over a six month period, our extended EAL online course provides the opportunity to examine a range of EAL issues in detail, studying at times that suit your schedule. With 4 core units and 2 electives, you can tailor the cross-phase course to suit your interests and the needs of your school.
Leading EAL in primary schools
This 12-hour course aims to develop the leadership of EAL in primary schools where there are increasing numbers of pupils learning English as an additional language. Focusing on a whole school approach, the course provides guidance on how to plan and prioritise provision for a range of EAL learners.