All students should have the opportunity to succeed, fulfil their potential and most importantly, access the curriculum fully
In a school with such a high number of students with English as an additional language, the need for ensuring no one is left behind becomes even more vital.
With students joining our school from all corners of the globe, our English as an Additional Language (EAL) Team take on the exciting challenge of ensuring that all students are equipped with the necessary language tools to enable them to make the most of their time here at BISL.
The 'Exemplary' EAL provision at BISL strives to guide students through their English language learning journey, by providing the opportunity for excellence, challenging our students, and tailoring the teaching and learning processes to meet the needs of each individual. Our results indicate that when we fuse the structures and systems we have in place with our passion for the English language and learning, we are able to reduce the barriers of our language learners and aid their access to mainstream education with success.
As a parent, you always want the best for your child. Our daughter has been thriving since we joined BISL. Her confidence has grown visibly, she has made many friends and her English is already better than mine!
EAL is taught by specialist teachers across the school and is based on a 3-tier system, which allows students to be supported according to their individual needs. Improved proficiency in English enables students to access the curriculum and facilitates the immersion into mainstream classes.
The majority of students at BISL speak at least two or more languages, and for 90% of our students, English is their second or even third language. Our EAL programme has been set up to enable students to integrate into the school’s social and academic life as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Research shows that it takes most EAL students 5-7 years to match the academic performance of native speakers of the same ability (see Collier-Thomas):
- Basic interpersonal communication skills take 1-2 years to develop.
- Cognitive language and academic proficiency take 5-6 years to achieve comparably with peers.
Effective language programmes are crucial for students to be able to reach the proficiency in English, to allow them to access our curriculum areas and to maintain that level of high achievement across subject areas.
The 3-Tier System
The 3-Tier system of our EAL provision works to support students according to their individual needs, in order to equip them with the necessary language tools to:
Develop a social network with their peers
Access the curriculum
Immerse into mainstream classes
Students follow an intensive EAL programme within a specialised EAL class, which runs alongside mainstream lessons. The focus is on speaking and listening, for students to gain essential communication skills to support their social integration. Students participate in all other areas of the curriculum, including specialist subjects such as P.E., Music, Dance and Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), as well as other class activities.
Students are immersed into the majority of lessons but continue to receive EAL support in and out of mainstream classes. Increased independence is promoted through small-group sessions aimed at extending vocabulary, grammar, reading and writing skills.
Students are fully integrated into the mainstream classes but may require support in specific areas of the curriculum to reach their full potential. In Primary school, this level of support comes in the form of in-class support, while in Secondary it continues to be a combination of in-class and out-of-class support. The lessons students receive target their individual needs with the main focus being academic language.
EAL activities across school are very versatile, with learning taking place in the classroom and outdoors. Language acquisition is supported through the use of technology: our students use iPads for presentations or stories and various educational apps, games and quizzes, to practice their language skills. Our students have a chance to be creative in different ways, whether this happens on the screen, on paper or just orally.
Tracking of our PTE results over the years has highlighted the fact that students who are enrolled in our EAL programme make significant progress in their language acquisition after only the first year in the programme, with many reaching even higher levels compared to their native speaking peers. This is a phenomenal achievement which underlines the impact of the EAL programme at BISL.
Whatever the level of support required, our EAL specialists work together with students, parents and their teachers to ensure the programme of study is relevant to the demands of the curriculum and the student’s own personal needs.