EAL Department

T. 020 7474 0231




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The term ‘EAL’ refers to pupils for whom English is not the first language.   It does not refer to the stage of English these pupils may be on (see below).  Many EAL pupils speak English on a par to native speakers.


Department Vision and Priorities

The Cumberland School is committed to making appropriate provision of teaching and resources for pupils for whom English is an additional language. The EAL Department identifies individual pupils' needs at the earliest opportunity, recognising the skills they bring to the school and ensuring equality of access to the whole curriculum. We aim to ensure that all EAL pupils are able to:


  • Use English confidently and competently
  • Use English as a means to learning across the curriculum
  • Where appropriate, make use of their knowledge of other languages


We recognise that learners will be at different stages of English language acquisition (from complete beginner to advanced bi-lingual). But even those at the same stage of English language acquisition will have different backgrounds and needs.  With this in mind, we adhere to the following principles:


  • Raise online provides data on all pupils whose first language is believed not to be English.  However, EAL pupils are not a homogeneous group: pupils come from diverse linguistic, cultural and educational backgrounds.  We acknowledge that these variations are significant when interpreting the overall achievement of EAL learners.
  • The school monitors the attainment and progress of all pupils.  For those at the earliest stages of learning English, we will use the extended scale from A Language in Common: assessing English as an additional language (QCA, 2000/584).
  • All mid-phase admits are interviewed at length with note taken of previous education and attainment.  Relevant information is made available to all teaching staff.
  • All new admits are assessed with regards to their English acquisition on arrival.  This information is made available to all teaching staff.
  • Where deemed appropriate, we arrange assessment of literacy in the L1.
  • Specialist EAL support is available for all new arrivals from qualified teachers and TAs who have received appropriate training.
  • More advanced learners of English have access to continuing support via ‘Partnership Teaching’ in line with their varying needs as they develop competencies over time.
  • Class/subject teachers are expected to plan collaboratively with EAL teachers and TAs.  In ‘Partnership’ and ‘in support’, the focus of planning should be on both language and subject content.
  • EAL teachers are expected to work in formal ‘Partnership’ with two teachers only at any time and may work ‘in support’ with others.
  • Appropriate intervention is available to relevant groups.
  • The progress of EAL learners is monitored to ensure they are making appropriate progress.  We acknowledge that EAL learners’ conceptual thinking may be in advance of their ability to speak English and work to ensure the cognitive challenge remains appropriately high and is not reduced because the English language demand has been reduced.
  • We acknowledge that all learners have a right to access the National Curriculum.  This is best achieved within a whole school context.  Pupils learn more quickly when socialising and interacting with their peers who speak English fluently and can provide good language and learning role models.
  • Any withdrawal of EAL learners from a mainstream class will be for a specific purpose, time limited and linked to the work of the mainstream class; the subject/class teacher will be involved in all planning.
  • There is regular training for all staff on the needs of EAL learners via the school’s own Inset programme.



Serena Buchan (Head of Department); Claudette Baker, Agnieszka Romanik, Carolyn McGrath (EAL teachers); Maria Barros (EAL Learning Mentor & TA); Malek Miah (EAL TA)



As a small department within a large school with high demand, we prioritise subjects with a high literacy content to work with eg. English, History and Geography.  In this way, we hope to benefit EAL pupils’ performance in all subjects as they develop the literacy skills to engage with the whole of the curriculum. We prioritise support in classes with new arrivals.


Teachers work in formal ‘Partnerships’ which are reviewed termly.  This enables the EAL teacher to focus on target pupils as well as model appropriate inclusive teaching strategies to subject teachers via shared planning, material development and assessment.  In this way, the subject teacher is provided with ‘training’ to enable them to develop their own skills in meeting the needs of all EAL pupils.  Due to the time demands of formal partnership teaching, these are kept to two at any one time per EAL teacher.  Teachers also work ‘in support’ which also requires working in collaboration with the subject teacher.  Both methods of working entail meeting subject teachers, discussion of target pupils’ needs, strengths and weaknesses, pupil progress, targets and the development of materials and differentiation.


TAs work in support of target pupils and will also collaborate with the subject teacher to meet the needs of pupils.  They also work with the subject teacher to agree suitable targets for the pupils and monitor progress in lessons.


Mid-Phase Arrival Programme

EAL pupils who arrive mid-phase are prioritised for support.  Prior to their start date, staff are given a brief description of their background, including educational history.  The Form Tutor will have time to identify buddies to support and guide the pupil.  Subject teachers will know when to expect the pupil in their class and be prepared.  On arrival, the EAL Learning Mentor will meet the pupil and do a broad assessment of their Reading and Writing in English.  The initial assessment information will be sent out to all teaching staff.  In addition to this, pupils will be taken on a tour of the school, be given their planner with an explanation of how to use it, given their computer log on information, vivo account details with explanation, Fronter details and also be introduced to the school system to pay for food and drink.  They will be taken to class and introduced to their buddies.  The EAL Learning Mentor will meet them at break and take them to lunch.  Arrangements will be made for them to be met the next day on arrival at school.  All staff will monitor their settling in and alert the EAL Dept of any concerns.  All new EAL pupils are given a bi-lingual dictionary.


Pupils at NC2/3c Reading and Writing or below in KS3 will attend the following:


  • 2 x Induction lessons per week on a 14 + week rolling programme.
  • 3 x Reading Group during AM registration: reading with reading partners
  • 1 x Lexia session as well as receiving guidance on using the programme at home
  • An invitation to Homework Club (Tuesdays 3pm-4pm)
  • In class support from an EAL teacher or TA



EAL KS3 Induction

The course focuses on curriculum subjects and is designed to introduce key concepts and vocabulary, stimulate prior knowledge, build on learning in L1, develop literacy and oracy in English and enable pupils to practise language in a risk-reduced, supportive environment.  Collaborative learning is key feature.  L1 support is available from peers.


KS3 Reading Group

This is run by the EAL TA who trains a number of KS4 pupils to be ‘reading partners’ with EAL early stage pupils.  Pupils choose books from our own collection to read with their partner.  The partner focuses on reading for meaning and will ask questions regarding content as well as focus on language as the pupil reads.  All pupils maintain their own reading record.  Reading levels are tracked via English data.  The range of books is extensive, age appropriate and some are in dual languages.



This is an online reading programme which supports the development of KS3 & 4 EAL pupils’ reading skills in English (including reading for meaning), as well as helping them to learn spelling patterns and pronunciation. The reading software offers students the opportunity to learn to read through phonology, vocabulary and comprehension.  Pupils have their own log on details and can access the programme at home.  Parents are informed of the programme and its benefits and encouraged to support their child in using the programme.  Lexia has its own assessment system which enables us to track pupil progress and guide pupils.



EAL Option at KS4

EAL pupils who are either mid-phase at KS4 operating at grade F or below in English will take the EAL Option.  Similarly, EAL pupils entering KS4 at grade F or below in English will be advised to take the EAL Option if appropriate.  This option follows the Edexcel GCSE English Language and English Literature syllabus and is designed to support the work pupils do in their English classes.  All English classes with these EAL pupils in them receive in-class support from the EAL Department.  This enables us to develop resources and strategies to accelerate progress in English lessons and compliment the work done in the EAL Option.  We work on both language and subject content with a focus on maximising pupils’ success in the examination.

Pupils who are below the level of the GCSE examination in English do the Edexcel Entry Level Certificate in English.  This compliments work done as part of GCSE English and offers three levels of result: level 1, level 2 or level 3.

The EAL Department also offers Study Support for pupils in this option group alongside English study support.



School staff, parents and pupils need a common understanding of the stages of progress made in learning EAL.  We are currently devising a four point scale for each key stage.  These descriptors are based on ones developed by Hilary Hester, for the Centre for Languages in Education, which until recently were the basis for assessment in most Local Authorities.  The focus continues to be the four skills of Speaking; Listening; Reading and Writing.  We aim to roll out this assessment from September 2015 starting with the new intake and targeted mid-phase arrivals in KS3 and KS4.


Stage 1  New to English

Newly arrived pupils with no or very little English


Stage 2 Becoming familiar with English

Pupils may be more proficient orally – able to make themselves understood – but they still require sustained support for developing reading and writing.  Secondary pupils may or may not have well developed study skills, depending on previous educational experiences.


Stage 3 Becoming a confident user of English

Able to participate in most classroom activities. May sound like a native speaker but have difficulties with complex sentence constructions, academic registers, idiom and other cultural references.


Stage 4 A fluent user of English in most social and learning contexts

These pupils will demonstrate (near) native fluency and will continue to improve according to their age.


These stages represent broad bands of development.  Teachers may feel that some pupils are ‘between’ stages or just entering or leaving a stage.  Therefore teachers may give a ‘best fit’ stage.  We aim to assess targeted pupils every term.



We offer Homework Club every Tuesday after school from 3pm-4pm.  In addition to this, EAL teachers often support pupils with homework at other times via informal arrangement.  EAL teachers also work with subject teachers to differentiate homework for pupils at the early stages of English.





Cumberland School

Oban Close, London, E13 8SJ



T. 020 7474 0231

F. 020 7511 2510




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