What we do to support EAL children (children who have English as an Additional Language)

Many children experience some areas of difficulty during the course of their education, and all staff at Gidea Park Primary School are committed to finding ways of supporting children to access and make progress in their learning.  It can take around seven years for a child learning English as an Additional Language to catch up with their peers. Listed below are some of the ways your child might be supported in this:

Reading and spelling

Children who have English as an Additional Language will be given extra support with reading and spelling as needed.  Phonics or sounds will be systematically taught as a priority and spellings will include high-frequency ‘tricky’ words.  When working independently on writing tasks, children will be encouraged to sound out words using a phonics chart for support and also a high-frequency word chart. They may also be given a vocabulary book for an adult to write new technical language (e.g. 'push' and 'pull' in Year 1 Science); these new words could be illustrated with simple pictures drawn by either an adult or the child and should be revisited regularly to encourage retention of new vocabulary.

Talk/Write for Learning

This is a programme designed to improve the way children communicate across the curriculum, enabling them to be independent and skilful speakers and listeners. It is a targeted, time-limited (10 weeks) intervention which is generally used with small groups or individuals. By providing opportunities to practise and rehearse target language through a range of focused activities, pupils develop their independent skills to become good communicators. It encourages them to listen more actively and talk for a range of purposes, and draws particular attention to the links between speaking, reading and writing.

Pre-learning and over-learning

Both pre-learning and over-learning aim to boost a child’s confidence. Pre-learning is when children are introduced to new concepts (e.g. new language) in the days or weeks prior to the main class teaching, so they have some familiarity with the content when it is introduced in the classroom. Over-learning gives children additional opportunities outside of the main lesson to practise and develop competence in skills they have started to acquire, helping them on the pathway towards secure understanding.

EAL Adviser

We often liaise with the Havering EAL Adviser to ensure that we are giving each and every child the support they need to progress well.

How parents/carers can help

  • Continue to use your first language at home. Children who can speak another language can also learn English better because they see when words are similar (or have a similar meaning). They can also use what they know about grammar and pronunciation in their first language to help them with English grammar and pronunciation.
  • Ask questions and talk to your child about the topics being studied at school.
  • Have access to a bilingual dictionary. Encourage your child to write down any new words in English or your first language.
  • If your child does not understand a task, such as a home learning task, do speak to the class teacher (or encourage your child to ask the teacher to explain again).
  • You may wish to bring a friend as an interpreter to parent/teacher meetings.
  • Ask the school for information on local classes to improve your English if required.
  • Look at the school website at home. This can also be accessed in your first language – you can always ask the school to show you how if needed.
  • Offer to share information about your language and culture with the class.