Starting a new school year can be a daunting experience for newly arrived pupils with EAL. Whilst some may embrace the changes with a sense of excitement and adventure, there will be many who may find it challenging.
Starting a new school year can be a daunting experience for newly arrived pupils with EAL. Whilst some may embrace the changes with a sense of excitement and adventure, there will be many who may find it challenging. Not only do these pupils have to deal with leaving their familiar surroundings, friends and family, they will also encounter challenges in their learning due to their limited or sometimes, non-existent abilities to communicate in English.
It is therefore imperative that schools and teaching staff endeavour to help these pupils settle quickly into their new school environments to enable their progress in learning EAL.
Top tips to help both staff and pupils to start the year include:
- Arrange a short meeting with the parents, EAL coordinator and an interpreter (if necessary) before the child joins your setting.
- Reassure parents that maintaining and developing the home language will support learning English and enable the child to communicate with their extended family.
- Find out about the child’s prior learning experiences and their abilities in their home language.
- Set the new pupil/s up with a buddy or a few buddies to help them navigate their way around the school in the initial few weeks. If there is another pupil who speaks the same language, that will be an even bigger help.
- Learn keywords and phrases in the child’s home language and teach the whole class.
To help facilitate meetings with parents who may not speak English, Entrust has a phone-in interpretation service (Livelink) for schools to access. For more information on Livelink or for further support from the MEAS team, please contact us!