English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Sir Herbert Leon Academy values the cultural and linguistic diversity of the students as a positive asset and a rich resource for the school and community. We acknowledge that language and culture is central to a person’s identity and we build on the skills and knowledge students with EAL bring with them to school, providing additional support as necessary. We encourage both the students and families to play a full part in school life. The academy has a higher number of EAL students in the academy than the national average (24%).

We offer an extensive range of community languages at GCSE level and we are extremely proud of the achievements of our EAL students at GCSE. In 2015 71% of our EAL students entered for a community language achieved an A*-C Grade.

Our fundamental underpinning principles of EAL support:

  • Bilingualism is an asset to be valued, with first language having a continuing role in both identity and learning English.
  • English is best learnt via an inclusive curriculum where language and learning skills develop together.

Working in partnership

We work in partnership with EMAS and various other agencies to support pupils with EAL, either through direct pupil support, advisory support or staff training. We also work with EMAS to ensure we build our own capacity in school, through the school development plan. In addition to this, we have worked in partnership with local primary schools who provide outstanding EAL provision to share best practice and support staff development. Our partnership aims are to ensure that we:

  • Provide a welcoming environment where EAL students feel secure, safe, and have a sense of belonging.
  • Narrow achievement gaps between pupils with EAL and other pupils through specialist support and effective mainstream practice.
  • Build capacity within school to ensure the needs of EAL pupils are met appropriately and effectively.

We also have a relationship with the English Language House, which enables us to fast track a bespoke programme specifically aimed at students who have little or no English, before they are integrated into an individually tailored and supportive timetable, to maximise their opportunities to achieve in core subjects.

Ms J Goldsmith, is responsible for EAL provision across the academy.

"Hello, I’m Ms Goldsmith. I am an experienced teacher of Modern Foreign Languages and English as an additional language. I have lived and worked in and around the Bletchley/Milton Keynes area for over twenty years and am delighted to be the Head of MFL & EAL at Sir Herbert Leon Academy. Here, we believe, that confidence and fluency in multiple languages gives young people a real advantage and it is my job to support their development.

I am extremely keen to encourage the school support of all EAL student and work closely with MK Council, the Red Cross and Bridge-Builders among other agencies in order to support our most vulnerable EAL students and aim to provide a supportive and encouraging atmosphere where those newly arrived students feel valued and safe to experiment with English as their language acquisition continues

This year, our Year 11 EAL students have been able to sit the OCR English as a Second Language GCSE, which enables those students to gain an additional qualification, as well as organising home language GCSE exams for Greek, Polish, Turkish, Dutch and French speakers.

The EAL Department has established supportive tutorial sessions which focus on specific groups of students who may need a little support in order to access the higher grades in final examinations and reach their potential, as well as supporting students through the day in individual or small group intervention lessons or in a classroom setting.

As a Spanish specialist, the MFL Department teaches Spanish as its main language, which reflects the choice of the majority of our Primary feeder schools.

Next academic year I am planning to take a group of students to Spain to experience a little of life in the Costa! I hope this will be the first of many trips to visit this vibrant and fascinating place, and that it will enable the students to practice their linguistic skills."