English as an additional language (EAL)
The crucial part of EAL is community cohesion and integration. As the EAL faculty, our aim is to help pupils for whom English is an Additional Language to become aware of their academic and personal strengths and become fully integrated members of the community (both our local community and in the wider community too).
In order to support the integration of our pupils into their lives in the UK, we have a long term approach that is individual to the pupil and takes into account their differing backgrounds: different home languages, different cultures or religions, different experience of education and different reasons for coming to the UK.
For those students who are at the early stages of learning English, Ascension school provides intensive support in English acquisition prior to accessing the main stream curriculum. EAL English sets in KS3 and KS4 cater for pupils who are able to access the curriculum in most mainstream subjects but need extra support in English. Pupils may also be supported by EAL LSAs mainstream lessons. Once in Key Stage 4, pupils who require it take ESOL English to support their learning in their other subjects and this also leads to them gaining a qualification in ESOL English. The AQA Step up to English programme caters for pupils in KS4 need an additional ‘stepping stone’ prior to embarking on the GCSE English.
For those students who are fluent in their home language, they are able to access the GCSEs for community languages where available as it recognises the multilingual character of our pupils, as well as leading to an extra GCSE for them.
We promote a balanced way of language acquisition through the development of reading, writing and verbal skills. At the same time we teach skills that students will require in mainstream subjects like analysis and synthesis of texts.
We also want our pupils to get as wide experience as possible of their surroundings so we organise trips to places of interest in London. For example last year our Ascension School pupils went to visit the Natural History Museum in South Kensington which linked with the Science curriculum but also allowed the students to get awareness of how to move about in a big city as well as the London transport system.
The EAL Faculty
Harlington School has a diverse population with over 40 different ethnicities and around 50 languages spoken; over 75% of our students are recognised as EAL. The biggest ethnic group within our EAL pupils is Asian Indian with 20% of entire cohort, followed by Black Somali 15% and White European 10%. Our other ethnicities include Pakistani, Afghan and many others. Our purpose is to make sure that each and every EAL student receives appropriate support and acquires the English language necessary to continue his/her future education and integrate successfully within Harlington School and the wider community.
Harlington School has a team of devoted EAL Learning Support Assistants and EAL teachers who speak various languages. The needs of the EAL students are assessed and catered for instantly. EAL students are placed in a form with a speaker of the same language whenever possible, and new EAL students are assessed within the first weeks at school so that an appropriate intervention programme can be put in place.
Early stage learners of English join our EAL withdrawal group where the pupils are taught English with the intention of equipping them with the necessary skills to fully integrate them within the mainstream school as soon as possible. Students should also gain social and cultural confidence which will support them in their ability to move around the school independently and create social relationships with their peers speaking English.
Students who are beyond the beginner stage, join mainstream lessons in most subjects but attend English classes delivered by EAL teachers; they follow the same curriculum as their peers, however, it is structured specifically to give EAL pupils access to the high literacy content required.
Students who speak different languages are given the opportunity to gain a GCSE or A Level qualification in that language wherever possible. For learners at the intermediate stages of English language development, we also offer IGCSE ESL exams.
We also recognise that families of students at Harlington may need support and communication in a home language. Where possible, we provide translators at parents’ evenings and make contact in the home language.