EAL EXAM support

Did you see the BBC TV programme about lambing recently?

The first thing I noticed was when they showed the entrance to Scotland the sign behind was in two languages, similar to the entry into Wales at Bristol.
At the last count there was over 1 million children in UK who are  bilingual and this is increasing daily so for teachers and school managers it is an issue that needs to be addressed in line with current legislation and practice. These children (including many in Welsh, Cornish, Scottish and Irish schools) speak two languages as part of their everyday lives.
Daily they may use their languages for different purposes e.g. speaking to grandparents is probably in a different language to their school friends. There is also then for schools the question of literacy as they may be literate in one language but not in another. In Wales where Welsh is also developed daily alongside English the pupils maybe trilingual. Some will start school knowing more than one language  and some parents may be encouraging children to become literate in their heritage language through teaching them at home, attendance at community schools or parental choice to a designated Welsh  or other language speaking school. This is the route we took with our daughter choosing a Welsh school to allow her to develop her heritage language and gain essential language skills.
Throughout the last 30 years more and more teachers and others involved in EAL and bilingualism have come to recognise the importance of first language development for children learning EAL. Many parents and children now are asking to retain their bilingualism and not lose it due to lack of opportunities to develop and use the language . This is known as subtractive bilingualism.
We need to recognise the important role of first language development in second language development, as we have shown in training courses that Jean and I have done around the UK, and which has successfully led many educators to promote the development and maintenance of first languages and to actively support bilingualism and in turn in some cases  also received either outstanding or good OFSTED results particularly in schools with high levels of EAL students.
Many teachers use bilingual resources successfully to support the teaching and learning of EAL and bilingual pupils. You can to by using our bilingual exam book it supports the student taking the exam and the teacher teaching towards the students understanding aiming it genuine collaborative learning.

I have always done this by changing written material into the home language or introduced the new words in relation to the next project so that my students can access it. Due to many rules and regulations all of my students had to be able to take their exams in English so an explanation of and seeing of exam papers beforehand is crucial

Exam Success - English/Lithuanian Learn all the words needed to sit exams and tests in English.

Exam Success – English/Lithuanian
Learn all the words needed to sit exams and tests in English.

English Exam book cover












General exam Questions

Glossary of Exam Terminology

For other langauges and to buy follow this link http://shop.emasuk.com/category/2617/exam_success_books


Talking Tutor is useful for Design Technology and Science teaching

As a Design Technology -Resistant Material specialist many teachers I have worked with see it as a subject that is easily accessed by EAL pupils. This is mainly through misconception as they believe that as it is a largely practical subject then they can access it. What colleagues often forget is that, like Science, the practical aspect of a design challenge is only one small part of a process. Also included are the complex tasks of time management, development of an idea from concept to delivery, evaluation of the process which requires the development and use of investigative and planning skills throughout. There is also a high level of academic language required to understand the individual process involved.
Using Talking Tutor to give information to support their language development is really easy and also allows you or a teaching assistant to use previous experience to support and develop their learning quicker. It works very simply just put yourselves in their shoes.
Using Talking Tools

Using Talking Tools

Imagine you don’t speak a language e.g. GREEK. You can speak English as this is your first language and at this point only language, you have been to school for a few years so know basic mathematical concepts, tools and their names. You go to a school where everything is in GREEK what do you do? You are still the same person but suddenly language is a barrier.  The school has two options;
Option A – Take you to the side, in small groups and teach you Greek from scratch like you would teach a toddler but expect recollection to be quicker due to age – this is  a much practiced was that I see in many schools that are not challenging or innovative enough
Option B  – recognise they know what we mean by the academic word adding up, drawing, cut etc. but in Greek so share the word for this concept in English. In this way it speeds up the academic words learning process. It also improves the level of understanding.
In my school I always choose option B mainly as I have always had a time constraint called exams where everyone is tasked to achieve. By using Text Tutor which is currently on offer you can easily support academic language development in DT or any subject with a little extra thought about where the best use will be. NB Depending on the age of the child, those schools where access is always available and learning is paramount in their room, the students learn to just log on and find out the equivalent word and then get on with what they are doing. Interested?
Text Tutor

Text Tutor

“Given the appropriate environment, two languages are as normal as two lungs” (Cook 2002:23).

“Given the appropriate environment, two languages are as normal as two lungs” (Cook 2002:23).

As schools reopen in September it is a time to rebuild, rebadge (in some cases e.g. academies) and rethink.  In many cases I believe it is the ethos of the school led from the head through the senior managers that makes a place succeed. I challenge you all to rethink using the quote above as your guide.  Question whether your environment does encourage your children’s development and learning as well as bridging the gap effectively between the first and second language in the case of new arrivals and EAL learners,  Many I guess will say yes in an instant, but review and reflect as to whether it is.  Does your environment and ethos allow for mistakes to be made in a safe, no blame classroom , school and playground?

Everyone when learning makes mistakes what happens next is what makes the difference.

As a teacher do you blame and chastise until the learner feels unable to try again (we all hope we don’t but what does happen when we are having a bad day?).

For the learners do we encourage them to try and try again supporting them to move forward? Do we look for different way to teach the concept or topic or just shout louder or worse still tell everyone that they are not capable and don’t try ?

Do you use a wide variety of tools including technology and resources to suit the situation or do you simply say I have a dictionary in my classroom and a TA that speaks e.g. Polish and that is all they need.

Do you ask and suggest training that ensures all you or staff in the teams that you work in support and develop the learning environment that you want to create?

Do you ask for help when you need it? Do you ask the pupils and staff whether it is being achieved or do you sit there in blinkers convinced all is well until OFSTED/ESTYN comes in and lets you know otherwise?

If you are one of the lucky ones who has it right in your classroom then share it with others so that everyone at the school achieves.





OFSTED – Pupils using EMASUK resources make better progress than similar pupils nationally

This week is Good News week as we say in school. OFSTED have been into a school where EMASUK resources are used on a daily basis to support EAL children.

We say Well Done and Congratulations to the Head, staff, pupils and parents of the school it is such a brilliant community there so their Outstanding judgement is very well deserved.

On reading their report we were really pleased to see this under Achievement of Pupils

Personal help and effective use of a versatile computer programme which supports pupils –and parents –who are at the early stages of learning English enables them to make excellent progress in English. These pupils make better progress than similar pupils, nationally.

Also they were generous to say this

Under achievement of Pupils

Pupils who join the school mid-way through their school career, disabled pupils and those who have special education needs make better progress than their peers nationally. This is because regular checks are made to see how well they are doing and they receive additional support to move learning on when necessary.

Under Quality of teaching

Teachers and support staff strive to ensure that all pupils, including vulnerable pupils, pupils who speak English as an additional language, disabled pupils and those who have special education needs are fully included and have equal access to the same learning opportunities as other pupils. Systems for supporting pupils who are at the early stages of learning English are well established.

We are particularly pleased with these comments as our ethos has always been to take each child as an individual and move them from where they are to where you need them to be.  For EAL pupils use their first language as a tool and support to the second language by using it to bridge the gap. Hence the statement that they have equal access to the same learning opportunities is brilliant.

Through the use of the variety of resources that they had to hand, used appropriately to the individual child’s needs these teachers have ensured the children have not only progressed more than those nationally but had fun when they were doing it.

Again Well Done Everyone

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/109557  choose May 2013

If you would like to find out more about the Integrated support package contact us at 0845 009 4939 or info@emasuk.com

Example prices:

Integrated support programme 1

Pre OFSTED Audit, Talking translator, resource library, class of books,product  training and wireless tablets starts at £4614.00

Integrated support programme 2

As above but with literacy training for 2.5 hours and 3G and wireless Tablets starts at £6,124.00

Congratulations Gladstone Primary School

Congratulations to one of our member schools Gladstone Primary.


Delighted pupils and staff at a Peterborough primary school are celebrating after a good Ofsted report – 14 months after being rated as inadequate


Such great news to hear. We are very pleased to be in the background supporting all of their hard work and being one of the resources used by teachers to support and develop their children’s language learning.

Equally pleasing is seeing the head teacher talk about the benefits of supporting a bilingual education which is the start of the educational culture change which so many schools with our support are now embracing.


Head Christine Parker, 54, said: ‘More and more  of the world is  going bilingual. The culture at our school is not to see  bilingualism as  a difficulty.’

Today thanks to the summers improved SATS results where schools are achieving level 4 for all children including their EAL cohort, and these continuing stories of improved results the knowledge of how to use a child’s bilingualism to develop their English literacy and academic language faster hopefully will ensure this tide will continue to turn.

Many Schools all around the UK are now made up of children with a wider variety of languages as their first language and this schools list of spoken languages is not dissimilar to what you could find in any other UK town. Languages at Gladstone include

358 of the 440 pupils were raised speaking Punjabi Urdu, according to Department for Education figures.  Another 23 are fluent in Dari, which  is used  in Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan. There are 15 Lithuanians  and 11 Latvians,  while other languages include Portuguese, Polish,  Slovakian, Czech, Gujarati,  Russian, German, Pashto, French, Arabic and  four African dialects

For us this is great news as from this list we can support the school with Urdu, Lithuanian, Latvian, Portuguese, Polish, Slovakian, Czech, Gujarati, German, French and Arabic with our low cost  systems that teachers and members of the school community can access 24/7. Giving them and our other member schools the support they need when they need it.


To read these articles in more depth




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2283696/Primary-school-ALL-440-pupils-speak-English-second-language-receives-glowing-Ofsted-report.html#ixzz2LueUHAkg Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook




OFQUAL NEWS – New language accessibility guidance and Consultation on ESOL regulations

News out today from OFQUAL. Dont forget we can support these exams with our GCSE exam success book and the soon to be printed SATS book. http://shop.emasuk.com/category/2617/exam_success_books.  We must make sure we assess these children for what they know about the subject and not their level of English.

New language accessibility guidance

We want to make sure that the exams and assessments we regulate give all pupils the fairest opportunity to show what they know, understand and can do. Some pupils may not understand some of the words or phrases used in an exam or assessment. This could be because English is not their first language or they have a learning disability. However, they may be able to carry out a task and show their skills if a question is asked in another way.

We did some research on exams and assessments with subject experts and we produced reports and some guidance, which can be downloaded below.

Language Accessibility Research Reports:
Research Background: Monitoring Access to National Curriculum Assessments (2012)
Research Background: Guidance on the Principles of Language Accessibility in National Curriculum Assessments (2012)

These reports explain what we found when we looked at the design and wording of exams and assessments.

Language Accessibility Guidance:
Guidance on Monitoring Access to National Curriculum Assessments (2012)
Guidance on the Principles of Language Accessibility in National Curriculum Assessments (2012)

This guidance is aimed at test designers, teachers, teaching agencies, and others involved in educating pupils with special and additional support needs.

Consultation on ESOL regulations

Our consultation on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications and the regulations that govern them continues until 3rd December.

It is our responsibility to ensure that qualifications are secure, fit for purpose and suitably meet the needs of a range of learners. We are looking at ESOL qualifications because their role has changed significantly in recent years to include factors such as immigration and the right to reside in the UK.