What are the needs of more advanced EAL learners?
Pupils gain 'basic interpersonal communication skills' (BICS) in up to 2 years - but it takes from 5-7 years to acquire the full range of literacy skills: 'cognitive academic language proficiency' (CALP). Read an explanation of the essential points of BICS and CALP.
The needs of bilingual pupils do not cease once they are proficient in everyday spoken English. They will need continuing support in developing appropriate literacy skills, and in acquiring the language necessary for full cognitive development and access to the National Curriculum.
High expectations for EAL pupils should be maintained.
Being bilingual is an advantage, and maintaining first language skills is vital for cognitive development. Acknowledging and celebrating pupils' culture and religion is important to them, and enriches the whole school.
How can the school meet the needs of more advanced EAL learners?
Developing oracy skills are key to progress for EAL pupils: Speaking and listening are essential preparation for writing. Provide writing frames and oral rehearsal in preparation for writing tasks. Pupils may require longer time to complete tasks, in order to process language.
The Cummins framework provides a useful tool for planning for the inclusion of EAL pupils, through awareness of language and cognitive demands.
Recognise, value and promote the linguistic and cultural heritage of pupils uaing dual language materials, celebrations and curriculum studies. For some examples from the EMAS team, see 'Good Practice Case Studies'.
What about SATs?
Concessions for EAL pupils for SATs tests should be checked annually. Some pupils may be entitled to extra time, translation, and the use of bilingual dictionaries except in English tests. However, as these rules may vary, they should be checked for individual cases. EMAS can provide advice to schools.
How can the EMA Team support schools with more advanced EAL learners?
For more information, contact:
Kali Rama, Head of EMA Primary Team,
Race Equality and Diversity Service,
Children and Young People's Directorate, Gloucestershire County Council
Tel: 01452 427261