Meeting The Needs of Bilingual Pupils and Those With English as an Additional Language
The majority of the world's population is bilingual or multi-lingual. Bilingualism is the ability to operate in two languages. It does not necessarily mean that there is equal proficiency in both languages. Research supports the idea that bilingualism is a cognitive advantage. Nevertheless, a pupil arriving in school with a less developed fluency in English, or who is in the early stages of acquiring English does need specific support.
Bilingualism and Learning English as an Additional Language
"It takes on average five to seven years to become fully competent in a second language, although individual will vary in the speed with which they acquire this competence. Fluency in spoken English is usually achieved within two years but the ability to read and understand more complex texts containing unfamiliar cultural references and write the academic language needed for success in examination takes much longer." Inspecting subjects 3-11: guidance for inspectors and schools, English as an Additional Language. OfStEd 2000.
- Bilingualism should be viewed as a positive skill and development of first language should be encouraged
- A well developed first language can enhance the development of a second language
- The presence of bilingual pupils enriches the experience of school for all pupils
- Linguistic diversity should be celebrated in school and reflected in displays or signs
- Pupils learn best when participating in all classroom activities, particularly when there is a lot of opportunity to talk
- Judicious groupings of pupils will aid second language acquisition
- Provide plenty of visual support and opportunities to talk
Further information about bilingualism and pupils learning English as an Additional Language can be accessed though our Web Links page.
New Arrivals in the Initial Stages of English Language Acquisition
New Arrivals are pupils who have arrived during the academic year from overseas. Pupils in Early Years Foundation Stage settings with a language other than English as their First Language will also have similar needs.
- Obtain as much information as possible about the pupil from the parents including literacy skills in the first language. Schools may find this List of possible questions for parent interview (23.5KB) useful for initial induction interviews with parents
- Remember the new arrival may choose to remain silent at first. It does not necessarily mean they do not understand any English. Guidance for Staffordshire schools on welcoming a new arrival with EAL is available from MEAS. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org for your copy.
- Create a climate in the classroom where the new arrival feels safe, settled and secure. MantraLingua produce a series of resources including a welcome to our school cdrom which can be customised and is available in many different languages
- Make sure there is a highly supportive induction period during which basic survival language is taught and daily routines understood.
- Provide a peer mentor and an adult mentor
- After 2 weeks make an official assessment of the new arrivals skills and levels. The MEAS document Raising Achievement: The Assessment of Pupils with EAL provides guidance for schools in assessing, tracking and monitoring pupils in the early stages of English language acquisition. Email MEAS for your copy.
- If you require MEAS support, complete a Notification of new arrival (NONA) Form (57.0KB) and a request for Funding Form (44.0KB) (LA maintained Staffordshire schools and settings only) and return to email@example.com
- If the new arrival is from an asylum seeking or refugee background please complete the NONA form but use this Asylum seeking pupil funding form (47.5KB) instead.
Staffordshire Guidance documents
MEAS has produced a selection of documents to support children in the early stages of EAL. These are temporarily unavailable to download but can be requested from MEAS
- Early Years Foundation Stage
- KS 1 and 2
- KS 3 and 4
- Numeracy at Primary Level
New Arrivals in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Supporting Children learning English as an Additional Language: Guidance for Practitioners in the EYFS (PDF, 707KB) is a primary national stratgey guidance document on children form 0 to 5 "drawing on existing good practice developed by practitioners working with babies, young children and families".
Pupils who are confident in using English for communicating on a social level (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills - BICS) and are developing their academic linguistic proficiency (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency- CALP)
Developing speaking and listening skills are important in improving proficiency in English. Well thought out lessons should contain speaking and listening opportunities, paired or group talk, and the use of visual or kinaesthetic support.
Some structured support for writing activities such as models, frames and prompts should be provided. First language should be used to support conceptual understanding where possible. Collaborative learning activities are also useful.
The Collaborative Learning Project website contains examples of collaborative activities that will benefit emergent bilinguals.
An evaluation of the project Aiming High: Raising the Achievement of Minority Ethnic Pupils This document, published in 2006, was the previous Government's evaluation of the project to raise standards for minority ethnic pupils.
Pupils who are proficient in two or more languages and whose cognitive academic linguistic proficiency in English allows them full access to the National Curriculum
Further information and links to other sites of interest can be found on the Web Links section of this site.
With over 120 languages in Staffordshire it is not possible to provide information on them all. However we do have some information
(25.5KB)on 5 of the major languages ( of about 300) of India and Pakistan. For further information on languages use the Ethnologue
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