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English Language Support

What We Do

The EAL Department is comprised of a team of 11 highly qualified, experienced and dedicated practitioners who work across the entire school from EY1 to Y13 to provide specialist support for the development of English language.

Proficiency in English is essential to a student’s academic attainment in the English curriculum and public examinations, and to their success in the English language universities to which the vast majority of students will progress. The remit of the EAL Department is to improve significantly, noticeably and measurably the acquisition of students' English language within the school, and to provide specific and direct support to students whose current proficiency in English presents a barrier to accessing and responding to our English-taught curriculum.

How We Do It

Our EAL specialists work predominantly within a sheltered immersion model, working alongside class/subject teachers to provide direct support and to co-teach EAL learners within their normal subject lessons, and also via timetabled English Language lessons, called English Plus, attended in place of optional foreign language subject lessons. The English Plus programme seeks to build on previous knowledge and learning, reinforce the skills taught within the mainstream classroom and further develop all of the four literacy skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening).

Students are assessed upon entry to the school and at key points throughout the year in order to determine the level of English language proficiency. Those identified as needing specialist EAL support are placed on an EAL register, and remain there until they reach a stage at which teachers feel they will be able to independently access and respond meaningfully to the curriculum. At this stage they released from the specialist support of the English Plus programme (albeit with some ‘scaffolding’ still in place).

In Key Stage 4, the Academic Literacy Programme (ALP) provides an important linguistic and cognitive stepping stone for students wishing to progress through their IGCSEs and enter Key Stage 5 (e.g., A-level). A variety of students from within the school (including those who have English as a First Language) are eligible to enrol on the ALP, and students who remain in English Plus at the end of Year 9 are automatically enrolled into the ALP programme as they enter Year 10.

The ALP sharpens students’ overall academic literacy skills and focuses on developing proficiency in critical thinking and discussion, textual analysis and public speaking by exploring key global issues which are relevant to them. It is designed as a backwards-planned model that seeks to thread through its units of work the most important literacy skills of the IGCSE, and A-level curricula (including IELTS and Reading the World). It also aims to help fully equip students with the life and study skills that they will need when they leave the school and take their initial steps in a university setting abroad.