Hamilton enjoys a diverse student population and the Academy is very enriched through sharing cultural ideas and celebrations. Around half of our students have a home language other than English. Our EAL students form part of every ability group we have in Academy ranging from the very 'able' to students with special learning needs/SEN.
At Hamilton we believe it is very important to recognise the abilities and potential of EAL students even though they may have English language delays in communication. Support for students in main stream lessons and in additional time is provided. We want to give EAL students every opportunity to develop their Standard English skills. Many EAL students make great strides in their learning and English acquisition very quickly. We are delighted to celebrate the many achievements of our EAL students at Hamilton.
What we offer our EAL students: Support, teaching and learning
When students come directly from overseas through Admissions they are interviewed and their interests, abilities and needs are shared. Parents are involved in the admissions interview with their child. How we can lead them to make progress and achieve their best results is agreed at the interview. The experiences of EAL students entering the UK are very varied, and this is recognised through the pastoral care and additional support provided by staff at Hamilton. The Academy acknowledges the needs of EAL students along with students with pupil premium and others.
Students are tested to assess their levels of ability in English and maths so that they can be offered a curriculum and timetable which best suits them at the current stage of their development. Students experience a tour and a practical induction and then take part in a beginners programme where the basics of English are taught for two days.
In years 10 and 11 students study a range of GCSE's and choose option courses reflecting their interests. These courses lead to formal national Examinations. Grades range from 9 to 1. EAL students receive mentoring sessions and their longer term career aspirations are discussed so that they can receive the best support and advice. Entry level, vocational and ESOL courses can also be studied in year 10 and 11 taking the ability of EAL students to understand and write in Standard English.
Assessment and tracking progress
After induction students are buddied up with other students and enter the mainstream timetable. Our aim is to lead EAL students to experience a full and balanced curriculum diet in class sets related to ROUTES which reflect their ability and potential. If EAL students make progress over and above, they are slotted into a higher ROUTE so that they experience appropriate more learning challenges.
Where students enter the Academy with no or little English, students' progress is measured using the STEPS assessment scale. Progress of EAL students is monitored by the EAL manager in partnership with senior staff in the school. Adaptations to lessons and interventions for EAL students are planned based on the STEPS and other data systems used at Hamilton.
EAL students learn quickly especially when they are interacting with English speakers in all the situations which form part of school life. However, we do recognise that some EAL students require on-going, quite intensive support where a focus on English language within different subject lessons is necessary. This helps students to develop understanding and knowledge within the individual subject, but also aims to improve their English language communication skills at the same time. Students have the benefits of specialist provision in Geography, Science, IT and Art as well as in English. This dual purpose in identified lessons is very important for some EAL students who have little or no English upon arrival.
The progress of EAL learners is 'tracked' alongside all other students. Work is marked and students receive advice as to how best to improve their work. Students are assessed on their journey through national progress ROUTES, through tests and mocks and against Examination grade criteria. Parents of EAL students receive a 'tracking letter', as do all parents, and translation is offered to them if needed. EAL students are well represented at our Achievement evening where progress and outstanding learning and effort are recognised.
English as an Additional Language and the English Faculty and Special Educational Needs
The Manager for EAL learning is Ms. Irena Kaminska-Placzek who works with the English faculty team. Staff work very closely together in the interests of EAL students. Many share roles. SEN and NURTURE-WIT staff also work closely with EAL teachers and teaching assistants to enable students with SEN and literacy needs to make progress. A joined up approach with staff teams working together, in response to the needs of EAL students, is the most effective way to ensure that they do their best and enjoy school life.
All teaching assistants support the needs of EAL students in lessons as well as students from other backgrounds, but the following staff provide focused support and teaching. These staff can be contacted at Hamilton. Tel. 0116 241 33 71.
Enrichment and Interventions
Enrichments take many forms at Hamilton comprising special events, trips and educational visits open to all. There is a menu of clubs and study support sessions in the school where all students are welcome to attend.
In addition to this students can choose to be part of the Polish and Eastern European Club on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or the Gujarati GCSE lunch club.
In addition to induction support, Lexia interventions are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in G4 where EAL students also receive support with their homework.
Additional Languages Qualifications
Students are encouraged and enabled to study and sit GCSE examinations in a range of languages at Hamilton including Gujarati, Polish, Arabic and others in addition to French which most students study from year 7. Qualifications in these languages are recognised by Colleges of Further Education and Universities and can be very valuables for students as they pursue their careers choices.
Parents are welcome to the Hamilton Parents Forum. The EAL staff team are available to offer information and translation support for parents at parents evening and other events. Please ask. We are always keen to listen to parents' ideas so that we can make changes or provide extras to benefit our EAL students.
*Please contact Hamilton on 01162413371 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org