The Connaught School has a diverse and multicultural community. Twenty eight different languages are spoken. The EAL (English as an Additional Language) Department comprises of the EAL Manager, Mrs Michniak-Cigdem, and two EAL Learning Mentors who between them speak seven languages enabling the provision of appropriate support.
The main aim of the Department is to support pupils with EAL in order for them to access the curriculum and achieve their potential. The EAL base is open at break and lunch time for pupils to come along and socialise with their friends. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and practise their English.
Support is tailored according to our pupils’ needs. Strategies include: in-class support, homework club, small groups, one-to-one mentoring or reduced and personalised timetables for new arrivals. Our aim is that most of the learning will take place in the classroom, where pupils can listen and absorb the language.
EAL pupils are assessed when they first arrive and then placed in appropriate classes, according to their ability. Each pupil will be referred to EMTAS (Ethnic Minorities and Travellers Achievement Service) who will provide a native speaker in the target language, if we cannot support the language, in order to help with understanding and information during the settling in process.
GCSEs in Heritage Languages
We offer our pupils an opportunity to do a GCSE in their heritage language. Our results are very good.
Having such an array of languages in school, provides a great opportunity to deliver the Hampshire Young Interpreter scheme. This training is offered to both bilingual pupils and also our gifted and talented linguists in French and German. This scheme recently won the Guardian Public Services Award and is hugely popular in this country and abroad. Our Young Interpreters attended conferences, have won competitions and have worked with children in our local primary schools.
By giving children the role of supporting others, whose first language is not English, we are promoting successful integration and helping the Young Interpreters become accustomed to responsibility.
Community cohesion is vital in bringing school and home life closer. We know that parental involvement enhances the learning of pupils. We organise events for parents where they can learn about the English culture and the English education system. We also provide interpreters for special events and Parents’ Evenings.