Forfar Academy helping EAL pupils feel at home

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Forfar Academy has shown its commitment to promoting inclusion for pupils whose first language is not English.

In school, the English as an additional language (EAL) co-ordinator works closely with the visiting EAL teacher to ensure appropriate assessment and provision for the pupils in mainstream education.

At present, the school has a significant number of pupils whose home language is Polish, Latvian, Russian and Urdu.

Some of these pupils have come straight into secondary education from their home country with little practice of spoken English.

So, to help them settle into their new environment they have been making multilingual signs to display around the building.

Parents and staff have been working with pupils to ensure the translations are accurate.

Basic information and instructions such as “Walk around school in an orderly manner” or naming important rooms such as “Sick Bay” or the “Assembly Hall” are now displayed in six languages: English, Gaelic, Polish, Latvian, Russian, and Urdu each with the appropriate national flag beside it.

The EAL pupils say: “It helps us feel comfortable in our new school”, “it helps us learn new language” and “it makes us feel happy in school”.

Faculties are now considering ways of using multi-lingual signs in their departments to help the EAL pupils learn basic information and follow classroom rules.

SQA ESOL qualifications are being delivered for the first time at Forfar Academy which teachers have commented is making a big difference to them accessing the mainstream curriculum. Pupils are learning phrases for everyday communication, transactional language and language for work and study.

A lunchtime club for EAL pupils and their friends as well as creating dual language letters to send home to parents about absence notes, homework and behaviour are all further examples of initiatives taking place in Forfar to make EAL pupils feel more at ease in their new school.