English as an Additional Language (EAL)

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Great Ouse Primary Academy (GOPA) is proud of being a school that has children from many different ethnic backgrounds. We see each child as an individual and aim to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment in which they flourish and realise their potential.

At GOPA, we can speak 19 different languages!

We value and respect all the languages and faiths within our community. To celebrate this, every month we have a “Language of the Month.” Whole-school or class assemblies are held that focus on key phrases that enable everyone to learn the basics. These phrases are then practised in class and are displayed in the corridors. We also have our Language Ambassadors to represent these languages.

What is EAL?

The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance on the definition of EAL:

“A pupil’s first language is defined as any other language than English that a child was exposed to during early development and continues to be exposed to in the home or in the community.”

At Great Ouse Primary Academy (GOPA), we have a significant number of pupils (around 39%) who use English as an additional language. We recognise that cultural and linguistic diversity is a rich resource for the whole school. We also recognise that pupils’ achievement is linked to a welcoming environment in which they feel valued and confident.

Parental Engagement

At GOPA, we believe every parent has the right to know how their child is being educated so we have developed an induction programme to inform parents about the school and to promote good home/school links. On admission to the school, parents are invited to attend a new parent afternoon. If necessary, a mediator can be arranged to translate information. A welcome booklet is created using Mantra Lingua in the parent’s mother tongue and parents are invited to meet with the EAL Lead (Mrs Jackson) to discuss any concerns or requests. This is an informal meeting to make both the child and parents feel welcome in the school. Throughout the year, we celebrate a number of festivals observed around the world. We encourage all children and families to share their culture, language and religion. During the month of July, we celebrate our annual Multi-Cultural Week whereby we invite visiting artists to teach the children about different cultures and traditions from around the world. If you would like to share your culture or traditions with the school, please feel free to contact Mrs Jackson or the School Office.

Dual Language books available to borrow

We have recently invested in a range of Dual Language Books, Best Sellers, Dictionaries for our parents and carers to borrow from our Language Development Room. Every story can be read or listened to, page by page, in the home language selected. For children with little knowledge of English, instant access to books ensure that they become active learners immediately. They could go through books in their home language - either reading or listening to the text being read aloud. Currently we have over 12 different languages to choose from.

What support is available for pupils whom have EAL when they first arrive at GOPA?

New pupils are made to feel welcome with a class buddy. The class buddy will help the pupil by assisting them to get used to the routines of the class and the school. They will give them help and advice if they get stuck or worried. In class they will sit next to the pupil, help explain the work, support them if they get stuck, encourage them to talk and tell them when they do things right, they will be a friend whilst the pupil is getting used to their new school environment. At play/lunchtimes their buddy will talk and play with them and also help them to make new friends. Buddies gives pupils a chance to make new friends and help them feel settled in their new school. Having a Buddy makes the pupil feel more confident!

How will my child access the curriculum?

At GOPA, we believe in an inclusive education for all our learners. All school staff are aware of the linguistic needs of individual EAL children. Staff are fully trained in how to support bilingual pupils and how to plan effectively for pupils who are learning English as a second language. Teachers are aware of some of the difficulties that pupils may face in the early stages of acquiring English and plan accordingly. We know that English is best learnt through the curriculum and all pupils are encouraged to play as full a part as possible in all class activities. All teachers build strategies into their planning to support the language development of EAL pupils and structure lessons appropriately. We focus on speaking and listening and opportunities so that the pupil can use the language in a collaborative, non-threatening context which will enhance progress in all areas of the curriculum. We encourage pupils in the early stages of learning English who are literate to record their work in their mother tongue, transferring to English as they become more proficient. EAL pupils are taught subject specific vocabulary for Maths, IT, Science, History and Geography units as well as for other subjects where appropriate. Every child is supported to access the curriculum and reach their full potential. We aim for all our pupils to be confident speakers and writers of English in all areas of the curriculum.

Other additional support?

Mrs Jackson (EAL Lead) works closely with all teaching and non-teaching staff to support all EAL learners in school. The EAL Lead supports children within the classroom to help them access the curriculum and develop their social skills. Structured intervention is also provided to help develop the pupil’s basic interpersonal and communicative skills. All staff have access to dual language resources to support the children’s language development and understanding.


At GOPA, we assess all pupils new to English using the NASSEA (Northern Association of Support Services for Equality and Achievement) Toolkit. The assessment toolkit is a cross–curricular tool to help practitioners to observe, document and accelerate the ways bilingual pupils start to use English as a tool for learning. The toolkit helps to target language development through listening, speaking, reading and writing. It helps practitioners to inform their planning and target the pupil’s next steps. Once the pupil has met the age related expectations, they are then assessed using the schools chosen assessment materials.

Pupil progress is monitored termly to ensure that pupils are able to reach the highest possible standards in their work and behaviour. The NASSEA document is passed onto the receiving school or teacher when the child moves schools or classes.

If you have any questions about our EAL provision, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Jackson or your child’s class teacher.

Welcome to Great Ouse Primary Academy

Welcome and thank you for your interest in our school. Great Ouse Primary Academy is a school that thinks and dreams big for its pupils. Expectations are high for all who make up the Great Ouse Primary Academy community and these standards reflect the wonderful physical environment we have developed to enable children to flourish within and beyond the school walls. We are committed to developing learners who are: resilient, focused, aspirational in their goals as well a being prepared to be successful citizens of the 21st century.

Great Ouse Primary Academy opened as a brand-new primary academy in September 2017 and is a proud member of the Meridian Trust. The school is a named feeder school for Lincroft Academy and Sharnbrook Academy. The school is a bright, modern and inspiring learning environment with up-to-date technology and vibrant teaching and learning spaces for our pupils and staff.

We believe that the school absolutely belongs to our community of children, staff, parents and carers. We urge you to actively support and be involved in the school. It is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to be part of something special.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
(Martin Luther King, Jr)


Chris Payne