Dormers Wells High School is a diverse and multi-cultural school and around 56 different languages are represented in our school community; Panjabi and Urdu being the most widely spoken community languages. Students arrive in our school at various stages of learning English as an additional language (EAL), and with a rich variety of experiences, cultural and educational backgrounds.
The EAL department offers language support to those at an early stage of learning English, as well as to students who have more advanced language skills, but may still be making language errors.
The EAL department aims:
- to give students learning English as an additional language access to and success within the curriculum, through developing their proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading and writing in English;
- to monitor progress of students and evaluate teaching strategies and take action as appropriate;
- to promote a policy of inclusion in all aspects of the curriculum;
- to promote respect and value of students’ language, religion and culture thereby enhancing their self esteem and pride;
- whenever possible, arrange for the provision of appropriate support and counselling to those who might be suffering from varying degrees of trauma caused by previous experiences.
SUPPORT WITHIN THE EAL DEPARTMENT
Depending on their competence in English, students are offered different levels of provision by EAL specialists.
On arrival: The students have a brief assessment of their English and Maths skills so that we can see how best to support them. We try to place the students according to their academic potential and previous educational experience.
Reception and Induction of New Arrivals: When an EAL student starts at the school the Head of Year/form tutor will allocate a fellow student/buddy in the same class, who speaks the same language if possible, to look after the new arrival for the first few weeks. The student is given an induction for a period every day over a six week period, which includes a tour of the school, an explanation of the timetable and information about the school rules and school routines.
Coffee mornings: we meet and talk with parents ensuring that they understand fully how the UK education system works and how to support their child at home.
EAL Staff: The new students are introduced to the EAL staff who will be working with them. As well as developing and improving their use of English, we attach great importance to the students’ well-being. Students have access to clubs at lunchtime and after school.
In class/withdrawal support (literacy and numeracy): students are supported towards accessing the curriculum by teachers and teaching assistants. Depending on their level of English, students may receive individual, or small group lessons to develop fluency in reading, writing or speaking, whereas more advanced EAL learners are usually supported in mainstream lessons such as core subjects and options. All students may receive support after school in our home learning club.
Valuing first Languages: Home languages of EAL students are valued and, where possible, the students are encouraged to sit GCSE, AS, and A-level examinations in their home languages.
Cambridge EAL courses
All students who arrive in the school as beginners or at intermediate level in English are offered 5 periods per fortnight of additional English. We currently offer EAL option for students at key stage 3 and 4 and depending on their language proficiency, at the end of the course students sit KET, PET, and FCE Cambridge examinations. The courses aim to develop the students’ ability to use English effectively for the purpose of practical communication in a variety of situations; as well as to form a sound base for the skills required for further study or employment using English as the medium.
Access arrangements: If the student has been in England for less than two years they may be allowed to have 25% extra time in their exams, and to use a bilingual dictionary (for most subjects). They also can have access to a supported small room.