I was not entirely surprised that Laurance Haines Primary School in Watford seemed a good candidate for the EAL Quality Mark Award. It is part of a MAT called the Inclusive Multi Academy Trust and its EAL Co-ordinator, Miriam Al Alousi, is a graduate of our Extended EAL Course who on her course application form listed her school role as Multilingual Provision Subject Lead. The conversation in the school is about multilingual learners rather than new arrivals (for whom an excellent buddy stem is in place).
A very striking aspect of my visit was meeting several of the pupils who had been in the country for twelve months or less. Their English is, of course, still developing. However, all of them were able to articulate fluently how happy they feel about being at Laurance Haines and describe what has helped them to make the huge progress in English that they have: feeling genuinely welcome, teachers who use lots of objects as well as books, support from staff and pupils who share their language and easy access to dual language texts (the school has a Mantralingua subscription).
The pupils’ diagnosis of what works is very good. There is no miracle cure, no set of easily copied resources. It is just a genuinely inclusive school which uses online translation tools effectively, encourages use of first language and has a curriculum which, in the pupils’ words, provides real challenge. The multilingual staff use their many languages to help pupils. The English lead, for example, has a Russian degree. Above all it is a school which has designed a curriculum to empower the pupils that it has.
The school’s approach to EDI fits very neatly into its multilingual provision, led by Pastoral Lead Nicola Furey. What is more important is that staff at all levels feel ownership of both.
All the multilingual learners I spoke to, and their parents, had one key message for me about learning at Laurance Haines: it a school that combines being very supportive with providing the kind of challenge that enables the very best learning.
EAL in Hertfordshire schools
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.