Wilbury is a large primary school, rich in both cultural and linguistic diversity. As a school we welcome children with English as an additional Language believing that the ‘richness’ this brings to our school is one of Wilbury’s greatest strengths.
Pupils who have access to another language other than English are fully embraced into school life and our curriculum reflects the many cultures our school represents. Wilbury was very fortunate to have had a highly experienced Ethnic Minority Achievement Team in the school for many years and while in place it worked hard to train and skill teachers in the latest strategies to support pupils who are at the early stages of English Language acquisition. This was done through resourcing the curriculum, partnership planning and teaching, inset and close data tracking of new arrival pupils so their rapid progress in English language is acknowledged and celebrated.
On arrival at Wilbury, the Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning welcomes the family to our school and settles the pupil into class. A new arrival is a time of great excitement for children in a class and preparation is made ahead with buddies being assigned and lockers and seats allocated and this goes a long way to helping our new pupils settle into school life.
After a few days, an initial assessment on the pupils who are at the early stages of acquiring English is done in their first language with peer or adult support wherever possible. The outcome is fed back quickly to the class teacher and small and achievable targets are set which are reviewed after one month. Teachers are skilled at recognising the small steps of progress and are eager to scaffold tasks so our newly arrived pupils enjoy accessing learning within the classroom at an age appropriate level alongside developing their confidence in English. In addition to this, we offer field trips to the local shops and café as well as cooking sessions where children have the chance to put their newly acquired vocabulary into practice. This builds their confidence in the language and is a very enjoyable learning experience.
Parents are seen as a valuable resource and from day 1 we set up regular opportunities to meet. We direct parents to the best way to increase their child’s exposure to English beyond the classroom and often ask them to support us with some pre-teaching in first language ahead of a topic in the classroom. In addition to this, we have 2 members of staff who offer first language support to pupils and parents. Mrs Hakan works in Early Years and Mrs Munir works in KS1. Teachers in the rest of the school are supported by Mrs Clifford the Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning and Mrs Giudice who worked for a number of years at the school with EAL pupils and now supports teachers at Wilbury on a consultancy basis.
This term we have had 8 new arrivals across KS1 and KS2 and last week they came together and had fun making some chocolate reindeer cakes. This was a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and put their English into action.