English as an Additional Language (E.A.L.)
The English as an Additional Language Department (EAL) offers provision for students whose first language is one other than English.
Students’ levels range from New to English (A) to Fluent (E), necessitating the preparation of individual programmes. On arrival, EAL students are assessed using the EAL Assessment package (speaking and listening assessment, reading and writing tests) and the Bell Foundation EAL Assessment Framework. Each student is considered individually, and once assessed, they join an appropriate EAL pathway. All students attending EAL intervention programmes are assessed each half term during Assessment Week when they complete a summative assessment of reading and/or writing as well as speaking and/or listening assessment. All the assessments are designed by the EAL team and based on the topics covered during the intervention sessions. Additionally, the formative assessment of each student takes place on a daily basis in their withdrawal EAL session or during in-class support to provide ongoing feedback that is then used by subject and EAL teachers to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning. This formative assessment feedback enables students to identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work. It also helps the EAL Department to recognise where students are struggling and address any issues immediately.
All the EAL support programmes’ ultimate goal is to facilitate smooth integration into mainstream subjects, once students become more confident and proficient in English.
With greater proficiency, students’ EAL programmes become more specialised, often focusing more on subject-specific language. Lessons are then tailored to support comprehension and expression in the content areas, frequently in subjects in which students will sit external exams.
KS3 English Immersion (EI) Pathway
KS3 Students assessed to be at New to English (A) level (DfE levels) are offered an English Immersion (EI) Pathway. Students on this pathway follow a bespoke English Language Programme delivered by the EAL specialists, which aims at developing their overall English proficiency and enables them to be integrated into the full curriculum as soon as they are ready. In addition to the intense and personalised English Language Programme, students also attend practical mainstream subjects (art, PE, music, catering, and drama) as well as mainstream Maths lessons.
KS3 EAL Withdrawal
KS3 students assessed to be at Early Acquisition (B) level receive EAL withdrawal sessions (across the subjects) and in-class support in science, English, geography and history. In their EAL withdrawal sessions, they follow an inspiring and up to date English language course aimed at developing their proficiency in English across all 4 language skills. The curriculum for this pathway is based on National Geographic learning materials and TED talks which help the learners develop their language competence through inspiring ideas to motivate learning, effective models of communication, a focus on critical thinking and authentic language. The students on this pathway also benefit from the EAL Extra-curricular offer.
KS3/ KS4 Access Pathway
Students assessed to be at New to English (A) Level (DfE levels) are offered an EAL Access Pathway. Students on the Access Pathway follow a bespoke English Language Programme which aims at developing their overall English proficiency across all four language skills - speaking and listening, reading and writing. The students benefit from small group teaching and individualised programmes of study which leads to them being entered for Cambridge KET (A2 Key, formerly known as Cambridge English: Key) or Cambridge PET (B1 Preliminary, formerly known as Cambridge English: Preliminary) exams. In this pathway, students also attend mainstream Maths lessons and PE lessons. Each student’s progress is closely monitored and once they reach the Early Acquisition (B)/Developing Competence (C) level they are gradually reintegrated into all mainstream subjects. Some of the year 11 Access students sit their GCSE Maths in the Summer Term. All students move on to college to take on ESOL level 2 courses or to start their GCSE/Vocational courses.
In addition, The EAL Department works in conjunction with the English Department, Science Department and Humanities Department and offers English literature, geography, and science lessons on a weekly basis to Access Pathway students to enable them to access these subjects once they move on to study GCSE/Vocational courses or level 2 courses at college.
KS4 EAL Double Withdrawal Option
KS4 Students assessed to be at Early Acquisition (B) level are offered EAL Double Withdrawal Option. They attend all core subjects and 1 option subject and receive EAL intervention in place of two other option subjects. This gives them a chance to develop their English language proficiency in order for them to be able to access and successfully pass their chosen GCSE subjects. To achieve this, the students follow a bespoke support programme which comprises of specific English language teaching sessions, as well as an in-depth study opportunity, focused on revision and enhancement of their GCSE subject knowledge. The students also take the Cambridge KET/PET qualification. As part of this pathway, the students receive in-class support from the EAL Department in all GCSE subjects.
KS4 EAL Single Withdrawal Option
KS4 Students assessed to be at further stages of Early Acquisition (B 5-10) level or Developing Competence (C) level are offered EAL Single Withdrawal Option. They attend all core subjects and 2 option subjects and receive EAL intervention in place of one option subject. This gives them a chance to develop their English language proficiency in order for them to be able to access and successfully pass their chosen GCSE subjects. To achieve this, the students follow a bespoke support programme which comprises of specific English language teaching sessions as well as in depth study opportunities focused on revision and enhancement of their GCSE subject knowledge. The students are also supported in most of their GCSE subjects.
In addition to teaching the English language in withdrawal sessions, a significant component of EAL provision involves in-class support, with EAL specialist staff assigned to attend subject lessons to support students in the language of the content area.
EAL Extra-Curricular Opportunities
The EAL Department provides a range of extracurricular opportunities for EAL students to benefit from. The students are encouraged to attend a Grammar Clinic on Tuesday afternoons and an EAL Homework Club on Thursday after school. There are also tutoring sessions for students wanting to take the Community Language GCSE exam in the summer term. These are led by the bilingual HAMD teachers or by the external tutors who are language specialists and who are familiar with the requirements of the GCSE curriculum for a given community language. The EAL Department organises cultural visits and trips (e.g. to London or Brighton) to enrich students’ experience and further develop their overall language proficiency.
Facilities include two teaching rooms, one of them equipped with computers available to students during breaks, lunches and before or after school for self-study (TLC – The Language Centre).
All EAL students (those on the intensive ACCESS pathway as well as those receiving withdrawal sessions and in-class support) can use the TLC as a base, which offers them a sense of continuity and identity and thus security. The EAL Department is also running an EAL Social Club on Wednesday and Friday mornings. All EAL students are welcome to attend these sessions, when they can play games, socialise and make friends in a supportive and friendly environment.
The department is equipped with PCs, a Wi-Fi internet connection and interactive whiteboards. Resources include a library of graded readers, a wide selection of up to date, bespoke EFL course books and workbooks, grammar reference books, dictionaries and language learning software (Thisislanguage online learning platform).
Community Languages GCSE Tutoring
All bilingual students who can speak, read and write in a community language supported by the exam board at the GCSE level are encouraged to take the GCSE in their community language. The EAL Departments provides students with guidance on the specification of their exam and supports them with their preparation and revision for those exams throughout the year. There are also free tutoring sessions available to boost students’ confidence in speaking or/and writing before their GCSE exam. All the students at HAMD, who had taken their community language GCSE in the past, have been very successful and most of them received top grades.
The summer 2019 examination series has been particularly successful in terms of the community languages results. All the students took the higher exams and their results were phenomenal.