Areas of Excellence; Delivering Outstanding EAL Outcomes at Lipson Co-operative Academy
Lipson Co-operative Academy is composed of a wide and diverse range of ethnicities with over thirty different languages spoken; making us unique within a predominantly white, working class, coastal city in the South-West.
As a school we pride ourselves on our response to individual need and ensure all students are in a position to progress and thus fulfil their potential. A real area of strength in this regard, is our provision for students with English as an Additional Language and this is clearly demonstrated in the outcomes we achieve.
Welcoming New Students
Upon arrival, all EAL students have a bespoke package to welcome them to the Academy; the Initial Assessment helps to determine the language proficiency at the start of a pupil’s educational journey at Lipson, both English language and a mother tongue levels are assessed, as well as the cognitive levels (non-verbal ability test) so students will be learning in the right set or will choose the subjects appropriate to their ability and interest. An individual tour of the school following their new timetable combined with a personal introduction to each of their new teachers makes the transition easier and decreases anxiety. Each student receives training on a host of new technologies from the EAL Co-ordinator and a variety of “apps” are downloaded onto their phones to assist them with their day-to-day interactions around the school, we pride ourselves in supporting all new students to be independent learners from the start. In addition, we ensure their English skills grow and develop to meet the challenges of our mastery curriculum. Whereas for the more advanced English language learner, we endeavour to support their proficiency and literacy in their first language and where appropriate enter them for GCSE or A-Level qualifications. We also support many schools in the South-West both state and independent with first language oral exams in Polish.
Support for the Parents and Carers
The school understands that without support from parents and carers EAL pupils may not be able to achieve their full potential. We work very closely with parents offering support and guidance from the first day at Lipson. We are aware that some parents may not be familiar with the English Curriculum, grades, assessments and therefore the EAL department offers support by organising individual meetings to explain the education system, provide direct contact with EAL team (via email) even during weekends and school holidays, support during parents evening, open evenings, meetings, when required we can arrange first language interpreters.
Developing Teaching Excellence
As a school we achieve outstanding outcomes for our EAL students and this is largely due to the outstanding teaching and pastoral support they receive. We invest considerable time ensuring that our class planning and differentiation fully meets the individual needs of EAL students and deploy a variety of teaching strategies to ensure they are able to not only access the curriculum but with thrive in their studies.
The majority of EAL support, centres around creating a visual map which students can follow accompanied by a host of translation devices which allow them to build up key word banks in each of their subjects as well as growing the high-frequency words which they use regularly on a day-to-day basis.
The EAL team work with individual faculties to create banks of resources which are uploaded onto Google Drive so that students have access to a host of support at home as well as in school. Students are able to access these on their mobile phones as well as a variety of other portable devices. Our approach to “Flipped Learning” has proved very successful and students say they enjoy the autonomy of engaging in pre-learning tasks through accessing short videos (embedded QAN codes in Power-Points) and websites (both in English and where possible in their first language) thus enabling them to “get ahead of the game” in their lessons.
We are recognised for the knowledge and skill-set we have honed over the years in the field of EAL and work with a host of ITT training providers as their principle trainer as well as supporting a number of schools in Plymouth and the South-West by hosting visits and leading CPD in their respective schools.