Meet Bear, the school dog who very kindly sat in on my meetings in the head’s office at Plat Douet Primary, the first school in Jersey to be awarded an EAL Quality Mark.
Bear is just one part of the friendly welcome on offer at a school with many pupils from Jersey, well established Portuguese, Polish and Romanian communities as well as the more recent trend of new arrivals from India and Africa.
Plat Douet combines friendliness with a sharp focus ensuring that all pupils from a range of backgrounds acquire the kind of language they need to succeed at school. The school celebrates its multilingual learners with a display in each classroom proudly listing the languages each pupil speaks. The language of the week is a key part of school life and even the phonics board includes multilingual display. Nonetheless, confident, empowered pupils are asking for more multilingual display.
The school recruits staff from its main language groups to provide support for both parents and pupils and the staff are well trained. That results in, for instance, Year 1 Polish speakers writing a first draft together in Polish.
Jersey has two official languages: English and French. In addition, it is now trying to revive Jèrriais, the island’s ancient Norman tongue. I was lucky enough to observe a class with many multilingual learners adding the language to the two or more that they already know. The school’s Facebook page is a joy. A recent post shows how the school combined its Jèrriais teaching with an art project while another highlights Feliz Dia de Portugal, dia de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas!
The most striking thing about Plat Douet is its confidence and the way in which, staff, parents and pupils all speak proudly in a range of languages about what their school does.
This is the point where I do have to admit I didn’t dare tell the head and the multilingual learning lead that I am a life long dog phobic. But, guess what? I just couldn’t resist Bear.
EAL in Jersey 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.