An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Evaluation of English as an Additional Language (EAL)

REPORT

 

Balbriggan Community College

Balbriggan, County Dublin

Roll number: 70010V

 

Date of inspection: 8 December 2008

 

 

 

 

Evaluation report on english as an additional language

Whole school support and provision for eal

Planning and co-ordination

Teaching and learning

Summary of main findings and recommendations

 

 

 

 

Report on Provision of English as an Additional Language (EAL)

 

 

evaluation report on English as an additional language

This report has been written following an evaluation of provision for students learning English as an additional language (EAL) in Balbriggan Community College. It presents the findings of the evaluation of provision, teaching and learning of EAL and makes recommendations for the further development of EAL in the school. The evaluation was conducted over three days during which the inspector visited support and mainstream lessons and observed teaching and learning. The inspector held meetings with the principal and with groups of teachers and students, and reviewed school planning documentation, teachers’ written preparation, and students’ work. Following the evaluation visit, the inspector provided oral feedback on the outcomes of the evaluation to the principal, deputy principal and EAL teachers. This report forms part of the evidence base for a forthcoming composite report on EAL provision in primary and post-primary schools, intended to inform Department of Education and Science policy and to promote good practice in schools. The board of management was given an opportunity to comment in writing on the findings and recommendations of the report; a response was not received from the board.

 

 

whole school support and provision for eal

Balbriggan Community College is situated in the centre of Balbriggan, which is within the greater Dublin area and has experienced considerable population growth in recent years. EAL students have formed part of the school’s intake for many years, originally because of its proximity to the Refugee Reception Centre at Mosney and subsequently as a result of a growing and changing local population. A building programme is currently underway in the school to provide additional classrooms. Senior management reported that shortage of accommodation has precluded the provision of a dedicated EAL room. The school participates in DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the Department’s action plan for educational opportunity, and in the School Completion Programme.

 

The school has an allocation of five whole-time teacher equivalents (WTE) for the provision of EAL support for the school year 2008/2009, and the same allocation was given in the 2007/08 school year. Prior to that, the school had the maximum allocation then available of two WTEs. This ceiling is being reintroduced in the next school year. The allocation is being used in three ways: direct provision of EAL support; the division of one class group into two for core subjects; and different types of immersion programme for students with low proficiency in English. Assessment and monitoring of EAL students is taking place, but no specific number of hours has been assigned for this purpose.

 

EAL support is delivered in timetabled lessons to EAL class groups which have been formed where possible of students with similar English language proficiency, and usually of students from the same year. EAL lessons are timetabled concurrently with Irish, or sometimes with religious education or a modern European language. Some EAL students take Irish and where this occurs other arrangements are made to accommodate their EAL needs. The provision of timetabled EAL lessons accounts for most of the EAL allocation, approximately seventy-two hours of EAL support per week. Some of the allocation has also been used to divide one junior cycle class group with a large number of EAL students into two smaller groups for English and Mathematics.

 

In previous years, the school catered for junior cycle EAL students who arrived after the regular enrolment date by leaving space in one or two of the base class groups, and this led at times to a larger number of EAL students in those classes. It was reported that most EAL students now enrol at the regular time. Immersion programmes of various kinds have been organised in the past for EAL students, but management and teachers had concerns that such courses might impede the inclusion of EAL students in the school community. For this reason, the practice was modified and now involves the participation of specific students in one or two week-long courses during the school year. The reflective and self-evaluative practice indicated by this change is commended.

 

The allocation for EAL support is being used in a targeted and flexible way in accordance with the Department’s Circular Letter 53/2007. However, at present, as senior management acknowledged, there is some shortfall between the number of hours accounted for on the timetable and the allocation given by the Department. School management should bear in mind that the use of part of the allocation for the purpose of assessing students’ English language proficiency, monitoring their progress and co-ordinating the relevant supports is appropriate.

 

Eleven teachers are involved in the delivery of EAL support, and four of these form the core team of EAL teachers. These take the majority of EAL lessons, and most have a background in language teaching, and additional training and considerable experience in the area of EAL. The school management is commended on the criteria applied in assigning teachers to EAL and on its policy of building a core team to deliver EAL support in a consistent manner.

 

An assistant principal post has been assigned to the area of support for integration and cultural diversity. The post originally arose from the school management’s commendable desire to meet the needs of students coming from the Refugee Reception Centre in Mosney. However, no written job description exists for the post, and it has evolved as needs have been identified and as various initiatives have been undertaken. It is recommended that a job description be drawn up; this does not need to be unduly prescriptive but should clearly identify the role and general areas of responsibility attaching to the post. The role as described during the evaluation does not have a focus on EAL co-ordination: that is, on co-ordinating the delivery of English language support within the school’s curriculum and timetable. This is an area for development which should be addressed.

 

Class lists for the EAL support class groups were made available during the inspection. It was noted from these and from the master timetable that, in the case of all years except first year, EAL students have more than one EAL teacher. In many instances, this occurs because students are placed in more than one EAL group, so as to maximise the support they are receiving at the appropriate level. This makes sense and such targeted support is commendable, although careful planning is required to ensure that a coherent EAL programme is being delivered to these students. In other instances, however, the same class groups have different teachers, and this arises from timetable clashes rather than being a planned aspect of EAL delivery. EAL teachers are generally involved in mainstream teaching also, and one advantage of this is that it assists in the integration of EAL into the school curriculum. However, it also places constraints on the deployment of teachers to EAL because timetabling them to teach the mainstream subject is given priority. It should be borne in mind that teacher continuity is as desirable in EAL teaching as in any other subject area and should be maintained wherever possible. While the efforts to build a core team have been noted and commended, a greater consolidation of the delivery of EAL support should be aimed at, and thus a reduction in the number of teachers involved.

 

The school’s enrolment procedures are equitable and helpful. EAL students enrolling in the school follow the regular procedures, and the relevant forms are clear and well laid out. Good efforts are made to ascertain students’ educational history and to engage as fully as possible with the parents of EAL students during the enrolment process. Where communication difficulties arise, the language teachers in the school offer assistance with translation and interpretation and, in relation to the giving of routine information, senior students who share the applicant’s language may be asked to assist. The translated documents on the Department’s web site have also been used to explain aspects of the Irish education system.

 

Members of the core EAL teaching team are involved in the initial assessment of incoming students’ English proficiency and find the standardised tests they use satisfactory. For the purposes of general initial assessment, the school uses the AH2 test. It is suggested that the school consult the list of diagnostic tests on the Department web site with a view to replacing the AH2 with a more up-to-date test. The list of approved tests can be found at http://www.education.ie/servlet/blobservlet/cl0099_2007.doc. The Department distributed the Post-Primary Assessment Kit during the 2008/ 2009 school year. The EAL teaching team’s familiarity with the language proficiency benchmarks will be of great benefit when they introduce the assessment kit as the basis for initial and formative assessment of EAL students’ proficiency and progress.

 

The school operates a banding system of class formation in the junior cycle, and placement is based on an assessment test, reports from the feeder primary schools and psychological reports where applicable. Observation during the evaluation indicated that EAL students were placed in class groups within all bands. Furthermore, instances were given where EAL students were initially placed in a lower band and were subsequently moved to a higher band on teachers’ recommendations. This practice is commended and illustrates the importance of non-verbal tests where language limitations might otherwise lead to a skewed assessment. Senior management is commended on its efforts to improve the system of placement of EAL students in the present first year so as to avoid a disproportionate number of EAL students in any one class group. In the senior cycle, class groups are set for certain subjects and are of mixed ability for others.

 

EAL students’ access to an appropriately broad curriculum is well supported, both through flexibility in relation to class placement and through specific measures to meet their needs and aptitudes. For example, option blocks have been arranged to facilitate students who wish to take all three Leaving Certificate science subjects offered (Physics, Chemistry and Biology), largely as a response to EAL students’ subject preferences. Also commendable are the efforts made to ensure that eligible EAL students are informed of the Leaving Certificate examinations available in the range of non-curricular languages, and the uptake of this option has been good.

 

The teaching resources allocated to EAL are good. However, the accommodation available for EAL teaching is limited. Two general classrooms are used as much as possible for EAL lessons, and these also provide storage space for a range of EAL resources, including class sets of English language-learning textbooks, dictionaries, visual resources both print and electronic, and audio resources. In order to ensure that all EAL teachers are aware of the resources available, it is recommended that a regularly updated inventory be prepared and maintained. Both fixed and portable information and communications technology (ICT) is available. Its use in the EAL support and the mainstream classroom was observed to be helpful to EAL students, and therefore its greater use is encouraged. The school currently has no designated library. Members of the core EAL team liaise regularly with the local library service to ensure that EAL students have a source of reading material for pleasure and for school-related work, and this is commended. It was also reported that a number of EAL students use the local library themselves for reading and study.

 

Continuing professional development (CPD) in EAL and in promoting inclusion has taken place, principally under the auspices of Co. Dublin Vocational Education Committee (VEC), which has appointed an education officer to the area of English language support. The school’s management has also sought and availed of whole-school CPD from the Second Level Support Service (SLSS) on differentiation and the inclusive classroom, and is to be commended for its proactive commitment to promoting and fostering an inclusive school environment through raising teachers’ awareness. The forthcoming EAL in-service programme to be delivered by SLSS was referred to during the evaluation and school management expressed an interest in availing of all relevant CPD.

 

 

Planning and co-ordination

The school has developed an inclusion policy committing management and staff to practical measures to support student inclusion and progress. The policy has a particular focus on the inclusion of students born outside Ireland, and commits the school to promoting their full participation in the school’s academic and extracurricular activities, and in school structures such as the prefect body. It is commendable that the policy refers specifically to students who are acquiring English as an additional language, and to making suitable provision for them. It is suggested that some rewording of the policy might be in order, for example to incorporate the term “EAL” where appropriate. The admissions and pastoral care policies also reflect a commitment to inclusion and to catering for the diversity of students. The school’s code of behaviour is currently under review and, commendably, the student council is involved in the process.

 

Meetings to assist with planning and delivery of support to EAL students are held regularly during the time set aside each Friday for co-ordination and planning meetings. The attendance of the principal, the School Completion Programme (SCP) co-ordinator and the guidance counsellor at many of these meetings, along with members of the core EAL team, is highly commended. Records of discussions and decisions are kept and these show a high level of reflective practice both in relation to educational and broader inclusion issues. The principal reported that the first priority of school management and staff in relation to EAL students was the creation of a secure and inclusive environment. The school is very satisfied with what has been accomplished in this regard, and it was reported that the focus of planning is increasingly on the delivery of EAL support and the best means of promoting the successful educational progression of EAL students.

 

There is no formal position of EAL co-ordinator in the school, although one member of the team with experience and expertise performs a number of co-ordination tasks. Given the increasing focus on EAL students’ educational progression, the current situation should be addressed in order to support the delivery of both the EAL programme and the mainstream curriculum to EAL students. To this end, it is strongly recommended that EAL co-ordination be formalised and that the job description place emphasis on planning the delivery of EAL, with reference to organisation, methods of teaching and learning, and assessment practices. It is appropriate to use some of the allocation under Circular Letter 53/07 for this purpose. In line with good subject department practice, the role of the co-ordinator should be discussed, agreed and included in the EAL plan.

 

An EAL plan and programmes of work for EAL class groups in all years have been drawn up. These are soundly based on the language proficiency benchmarks and reflect a progressive acquisition of skills from Level A1 to Level C2. While this staged planning is commendable, it should be noted that the allocation for EAL support is given to assist students in the range Level 0 up to Level B1. These are the levels referenced and described in the Post-Primary Assessment Kit and, in reviewing planned programmes for EAL, the teaching team should focus on this range of proficiency. The present programmes of work link years and English language proficiency levels and place them on a continuum, but consideration is also given to students whose proficiency levels are lower than the generality of their peers. In these cases, the plan recommends the use or adaptation of the scheme for the preceding year. In addition, there is a planned programme for students who have little or no English. Such thorough planning is commended.

 

In all cases, the schemes of work for each year group identify aspects of grammar and vocabulary; points of reference to the English syllabus; and cross-curricular elements involving a wide range of subject areas. The inclusion of explicit references to the curriculum and to academic language and registers is most praiseworthy. In further developing the EAL plan, it is recommended that this focus be maintained and strengthened. It is commendable that the EAL team has sourced and is using materials that reinforce the acquisition of curriculum-specific language. To further advance the systematic planning already in place, it would be helpful to devise statements of learning outcomes related to the acquisition of the language of instruction, appropriate to the proficiency levels on which the post-primary assessment kits are based. Individual planning by EAL teachers was very thorough and well structured, and worked in tandem with the overall EAL plan.

 

Subject department plans support EAL students through the provision of lists of subject-specific key words and other materials developed by Co. Dublin VEC. Planning in subject areas in which EAL students are entitled to use bilingual dictionaries in certificate examinations should include the development of dictionary skills so that students can benefit from this concession. To further develop the EAL focus in subject department planning, it is recommended that, when subject departments review their subject plans, they identify issues that have arisen for EAL students. They should then consider, preferably in consultation with the EAL team, how best to deal with these in the mainstream and support classrooms. In this regard, the EAL team could consider the development of a report template to be used by subject teachers to identify specific problem areas for EAL students and also to indicate where they are making progress. Such a system would underpin a collaborative approach by EAL teachers and subject teachers to assist EAL students’ learning.

 

 

Teaching and Learning

Seven lessons were observed during the evaluation, three in the EAL support context and four in mainstream classrooms where the class group included EAL students. The lessons observed involved class groups from all years and all programmes offered in the school, with the exception of the Leaving Certificate Applied programme, which currently has no students receiving EAL support. The EAL lessons observed involved most of the EAL teachers with the greatest number of EAL teaching hours. Mainstream lessons observed included a mix of practical, scientific and core subjects.

 

In the lessons observed, teachers showed an awareness of the needs of EAL students, pacing the learning activities appropriately and placing an emphasis on the teaching and learning of the relevant vocabulary and language structures. They spoke clearly and at a moderate pace, and used gestures and other visual clues to support communication. The classroom atmosphere was friendly and encouraged all students to participate and to ask questions. Lessons were well planned and in most instances teachers began with a statement of the lesson topic and the learning objective. This good practice can also be effectively developed as an opportunity to highlight and pre-teach key vocabulary and terminology, a strategy likely to benefit all students, including EAL students. In all cases, links were made with work done in previous lessons, and an initial question-and-answer session was frequently used to ascertain students’ recall. The emphasis however was on moving forward, and substantial work was accomplished in all lessons.

 

There was evidence of focused preparation and skilled teaching in the EAL support lessons observed. Good use was made of the available resources and the materials prepared. In one lesson, pairs of students used a laptop to play a word game program that reinforced newly acquired vocabulary as an end-of-lesson activity. Downloaded worksheets and puzzles were also used in this way, and students were guided to consider words in context and not in isolation. Where worksheets were used as a core activity, they often provided a frame for students’ writing. This was effective and avoided the overuse of cloze exercises. Some worksheet material was geared to general social English. It is recommended that, wherever possible, material chosen or created to exemplify English constructions or usage be grounded in the school and curricular context. Good instances of placing vocabulary in a school context were observed; for example, the word ‘smooth’ was explained using illustrations from Materials Technology (Wood) and Home Economics.

 

Teaching and learning processes in the EAL classroom were productive and well planned. In the lessons observed and the plans of work that were made available, good attention was paid to the development of all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. It was especially commendable that students in a beginners group engaged in simple writing activities that developed naturally from a speaking and listening exercise, thereby linking the skills areas and underpinning the importance of writing skills in the school context. In this lesson, the choice of topics mixed the educational and social, with students naming and describing subjects they were studying and pastimes they enjoyed. In all EAL lessons observed, there was a good focus on giving students the language necessary to ask questions, and teachers modelled the extended form of questions to enhance and develop students’ spoken production. Students’ efforts were strongly affirmed and oral corrections were made lightly and sensitively.

 

The evaluation identified many strengths in the approaches taken to supporting EAL students’ learning in mainstream lessons. Visual material including mathematical and scientific diagrams were displayed either on the board or data projector to provide a context for the teaching and learning of concepts and of the related terminology. Very good practice was noted where teachers offered both colloquial and technical terms, such as ‘windpipe’ and ‘trachea’, in order to aid and reinforce understanding. Abstract terms such as ‘complement’ in mathematics were explained and demonstrated in such a way that the concept was clear before the term itself and its symbol were introduced. This approach allows EAL students to make links with prior learning that has taken place in their home language and ensures that new terminology does not become a stumbling block. Good practice was also noted in the development of word-attack skills, for example in explaining the prefix ‘inter-’ and asking the students to supply examples of words beginning with it. It was clear that all students found this helpful, and the extent to which the explicit teaching of subject-specific vocabulary assists all learners should be borne in mind by all subject departments.

 

In a number of mainstream classrooms, good strategies had been adopted to manage active learning in a productive manner for all students. EAL and English-speaking students were paired for classwork in an Engineering practical lesson to facilitate peer learning and to encourage inclusion. The teacher also clearly communicated to all students an expectation that high standards of work would be achieved, and all students were familiar with, and followed, classroom procedures facilitating the orderly and safe use of equipment. To add to the good practices observed, it is suggested that equipment and storage spaces be labelled as a way of reinforcing subject-specific vocabulary, and that labelled photographs, posters and other visual texts be displayed for the same purpose.

 

Pair and group work was observed in both EAL and mainstream lessons and was generally a productive strategy that engaged all students. The best outcomes were noted where the task and its purpose had been clearly communicated to students, adequate time was given and the feedback from the groups was an integral part of the learning experience. Both the work in groups and the feedback should be seen as significant opportunities to develop listening skills, and students should be made aware that this is a key aspect of peer learning.

 

The use of home languages by EAL students in the classroom was discussed during the evaluation. Where English is the target language and learning focus in the EAL classroom, subject lessons in mainstream classes present a different context. Here the EAL student must focus on the understanding of concepts and the acquisition of subject-specific knowledge in areas where previous learning has taken place in the home language. For this reason, the purposeful use by EAL students of a common home language to facilitate peer tutoring is beneficial and should be encouraged and supported. This approach may be particularly useful in the teaching and learning of theory and concepts. Teachers can then ensure that this approach is complemented and completed by the teaching and learning of the required vocabulary in English.

 

It was noted and commended that classroom interactions between teachers and students in the lessons observed were inclusive of all students. Questioning was usually directed to named students and was also used in the course of class discussion to ensure wide participation. Teachers should however be mindful of the value of eliciting an extended response from students, especially where understanding of a process or a concept is the learning intention. Extending the students’ spoken responses assists them to consolidate their learning and positions them well to manage more substantial written work. The greater use of writing frames and exemplars of report writing and other commonly-used genres is recommended as a means of developing students’ writing skills, and is an approach beneficial to all students.

 

Additional ideas on methodologies to support EAL students can be found on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment websites (www.ncca.ie) including its ACTION website, the web site of Trinity Immigration Initiative (www.elsp.ie) and at www.ltscotland.org.uk under Learning and Teaching in 2+ Languages.

 

There was evidence of regular assessment to track and record students’ progress in English language acquisition. Consistent use of the proficiency levels identified students who were progressing and those who were experiencing difficulty and required more targeted assistance. In the mainstream context, teachers reported that they differentiated homework assignments and assessments where necessary to support EAL students’ learning. Teachers also described the difficulties for EAL students inherent in the style of certain examination questions across a wide range of subjects, including Mathematics and the sciences. Their commitment to developing their EAL students’ language competence in subject-specific contexts was noted and is commended.

 

 

Support for EAL Students

The report arising from a whole-school evaluation (WSE) conducted in late 2006 found that school management and teachers were highly committed to meeting the needs of all students, and were especially mindful of those requiring additional levels of support. The development of a pastoral care policy and of systems to deliver it was recommended. As a means of structuring and co-ordinating the supports being offered to students with additional needs, care teams for each year of the junior cycle were established in 2007/08. The school’s response to the WSE recommendation is commended. Each team comprises the school’s senior management team, the relevant year heads and tutors, the co-ordinator of special educational needs and the guidance counsellor. The School Completion Programme (SCP) co-ordinator who works with four schools in the area and is based in Balbriggan Community College is also a member of each care team. The teams for each year meet every term and the structure now in place also ensures that informal contact between team members occurs in a more co-ordinated way. Because the teams address a number of areas relevant to EAL students, the post of responsibility for integration and cultural diversity should encompass liaison with these care teams.

 

Guidance provision in the school has been set out in the recently-developed guidance plan which the board of management is currently considering. The plan prioritises the area of integration and outlines the supports provided for all students from the time of initial contact with the feeder primary schools to the arrangements made regarding access to third-level education. As part of the guidance service, advice in relation to subject choice is given to students and parents. Efforts are made to ensure that the parents of EAL students understand the points system and the range of third-level options available, although language barriers can pose problems. All means of translating and interpreting (including the involvement of students, teachers and parents) to communicate information to parents of EAL students should be availed of at key decision-making points. This would continue the good practice found in the enrolment procedures.

 

Counselling was identified as a significant aspect of the care provided for all students, including EAL students, both by the guidance service and the SCP. A large part of the school’s SCP funding is allocated to the provision of one-to-one and group counselling, and this service also creates a liaison between the Family Centre in the town and the school. The SCP co-ordinator works closely with the National Education and Welfare Board (NEWB) which has provided interpreters in some cases where meetings are held with the parents of EAL students.

 

The school has a comprehensive service to support students with special educational needs (SEN). A small number of EAL students have been allocated resource hours following assessment, and the importance of supporting these students through a co-ordinated approach by SEN, EAL and other teachers is well understood. However, the main concern of the special needs department with regard to EAL students is appropriate assessment to identify possible learning difficulties, and specifically the feasibility of using standardised reading tests in the case of EAL students. The Post-Primary Assessment Kit will give a good indication of an EAL student’s English language proficiency. If this is coupled with a non-language test of cognitive ability such as Raven’s Progressive Matrices, it should help to distinguish between low proficiency in English and possible learning difficulties.

 

In addition to the development of relevant policies, the school has taken a number of practical steps to support the diversity of students. An admirably user-friendly Handbook for International Students has been compiled, which contains clear and helpful statements of the school rules, a map of the school, photographs of uniforms and useful information on school personnel and the school day. Affirmative action to ensure the presence of EAL students both on the very active student council and the prefect group is also a practical expression of inclusion. A mentoring programme involving first-year students and prefects has EAL students participating in both roles. The SCP facilitates leadership training for prefects.

 

Parents of EAL students participate in the parents’ association. Efforts are made to encourage the diversity of parents to become involved in events such as open nights and information sessions, and it was reported that parents of EAL students attend these events in good numbers. The involvement of modern language teachers to assist with translation and interpretation at such events is an indication of the school’s commitment to inclusion.

 

The creation of a secure and inclusive environment has been an important aspect of the school’s provision for its EAL students from the time of its enrolling students from the Mosney Refugee Reception Centre. The school has had an active involvement with local initiatives supporting integration and anti-racism. Among many other activities, students have participated in a multi-cultural St Patrick’s Day parade and have appeared in the DVD distributed to all schools as part of the ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ initiative, which aims to combat racism in sport and society. The involvement of the diversity of students in the school’s wide range of extracurricular activities is promoted and encouraged. EAL students interviewed during the evaluation were involved in music, sports and the Young Scientist competition. They spoke warmly of the school and said that they found it a very happy, inclusive and supportive environment.

 

 

Summary of main findings and recommendations

The following are the main strengths identified in the evaluation:

·         The hours allocated for EAL support are being used in a targeted yet flexible way. The school management is commended on the criteria applied in assigning teachers to EAL and on its policy of building a core team to deliver EAL support in a consistent manner.

·         EAL students’ access to an appropriately broad curriculum is well supported, both through flexibility in relation to class placement and through specific measures to meet their needs and aptitudes.

·         Meetings to assist with planning and delivery of support to EAL students are held regularly. The attendance of the principal, the School Completion Programme (SCP) co-ordinator and the guidance counsellor at many of these meetings, along with members of the core EAL team, is highly commended.

·         The inclusion of explicit references to the curriculum and to academic language and registers in EAL plans and schemes of work is most praiseworthy.

·         Focused preparation and skilled teaching were evident in the EAL support lessons observed. There was evidence of regular assessment to track and record students’ progress in English language acquisition.

·         The approaches taken to support EAL students’ learning in mainstream lessons had many strengths. It was noted and commended that classroom interactions between teachers and students in the lessons observed were inclusive of all students.

·         The school’s care structures operate effectively to support EAL students.

·         Through its own initiatives and effective links with external agencies, the school is an effective advocate of inclusion and diversity.

 

 

As a means of building on these strengths and to address areas for development, the following key recommendations are made:

·         Assigned responsibilities in relation to support for integration and cultural diversity should be clearly identified in a written job description.

·         The need for greater co-ordination in the planning and delivery of the EAL programme should be addressed. It is appropriate to use some of the EAL allocation for this purpose. A greater consolidation of the delivery of EAL support should be aimed at, leading to a reduction in the number of teachers involved.

·         Subject departments should implement the recommendations relating to the use of bilingual dictionaries in certificate examinations.

·         In reviewing their plans, subject departments should identify issues that have arisen for EAL students and should consider, preferably in consultation with the EAL team, how best to deal with these in the mainstream and support classrooms.

·         The purposeful use by EAL students of a common home language to facilitate peer tutoring is beneficial and should be encouraged and supported.

·         Greater focus in both the support and mainstream classroom on the extension of EAL students’ spoken and written production of English would be beneficial.

 

A meeting was held with the principal following the evaluation when the draft findings and recommendations of the evaluation were presented and discussed.

 

 

 

 

Published November 2009