English as an Additional Language
English as an Additional Language (EAL) Lead: Freya Garbett
At Robert Miles Junior School, we want to create an environment where children are supported and feel confident in their learning of English alongside having their first language and cultural identity respected and encouraged. We will work with children in an inclusive manner, throughout their journey with us, to support their acquisition of English with the aim of access to the full curriculum.
Our need for EAL provision has developed intensively and recently with new children being welcomed to the school, primarily from Hong Kong. At Robert Miles Junior School we recognise that most of these children come to us with a good start in English already and are broadly at the developing competence or competent users (Bell Foundation). In recognition of this we have developed the first two key elements to our EAL provision: inclusion and long-term support.
While presently, our children do not need the ‘survival English’ of new starters they are still in need of continuing development of their language skills, particularly their vocabulary. While children will develop a lot of language naturally through interaction with others, this does not replace the dedicated, ongoing study of the language, that will help them to move eventually from competency to fluency. This is a long-term commitment that follows the children through the school by targeting new vocabulary related to each topic. By studying vocabulary children can take ownership of their learning, and overcome cultural barriers as well as language ones. We have also invested in reading books that are designed specifically for EAL students a different levels of English acquisition. These are high interest, appropriate level, texts that can be supported at home or in school with additional language and comprehension support.
The final element of EAL at Robert Miles is support for children’s first language and the cultural identity that is integral to this. The staff at Robert Miles have an understanding that children need to continue using their first language and so we support them in making the choice to use their first language in break and lunchtimes, when it does not exclude others. Equally, there will be times where a first language translation or discussion is beneficial to the learning of children in the classroom although this would only be as an additional support. Finally, as our EAL children travel through Robert Miles Junior School we hope to find new opportunities for them to share their culture and language with the rest of the school community through assemblies, books and cultural celebrations.