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St Bernadette's is an 'Outstanding Catholic School' (Section 48 Inspection 2021). We are an OFSTED 'Good School' with Outstanding features in 'Behaviour and Attitudes' and 'Personal Development' (Ofsted Inspection 2022)
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Please see the link below for our Language Development Parent Hub session aimed at children and families where English is an Additional Language. 


EAL - English as an Additional Language

Children with EAL are defined as having ‘a language other than English spoken at home.’ These pupils may also be referred to as being bilingual. The term “bilingual” refers to pupils who have regular access to more than one language. This group includes a wide range of experiences, from newly arrived pupils in the early stages of English language acquisition to more advanced learners of English. At St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School we have a significant proportion of  students who speak EAL, in fact 39 different languages are spoken by our children. General teaching practices are modified in accordance with the advice from the Milton Keynes Ethnic Minority Achievement Network Team.


Teaching and Learning

We provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment based on the following features:

  • Structured lessons that draw pupils in from the start of the lesson
  • Active and engaging tasks which encourage all pupils to participate
  • Teaching and learning strategies that are oral and interactive
  • An emphasis on short-term planning, which includes planning for input and support from other adults in the classroom, focus groups and individualised strategies, to ensure the learning opportunities are maximised.
  • Subject-specific language skills and conventions of particular forms of writing, which are made explicit and demonstrated by the teacher
  • Planned opportunities for oral rehearsal in pairs and in small groups
  • Pre-teaching sessions for Literacy and Maths
  • A requirement that pupils apply learning, supported by group work, before moving to independent activity.




As we have a high proportion of mobility of EAL children into our school, assessment procedures are flexible according to their point of entry. Many pupils arrive in school mid-term, and are at different levels of English language acquisition. Some may present as having no English at all. The Inclusion Leader will liaise with specifically trained teaching assistants to conduct assessments within their first two weeks of starting school.


Upon entry to Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2, EAL children are assessed according to the Language Acquisition Stages in the strands of NASSEA (Northern Association of Support Services for Equality and Achievement):

  • Speaking, Listening and Understanding
  • Reading & Writing


These strands are levelled from S1, a newly arrived pupil with few word knowledge, to S6, where the pupil will move on from Step 5, becoming less in need of contextual support and more fluent.


If a child is assessed at S4 or under, an individual EAL target is set and reviewed on a termly basis. This is recorded on an EAL Target Plan, and kept in the Inclusion File. Those at above S4 will have their Literacy target as the other children and be monitored accordingly. Provision for these children is the class teacher’s responsibility, together with the teaching assistant. Visual cues, multi-lingual resources and ICT support will be used accordingly to allow the EAL child to access the curriculum.


This assessment procedure is used across schools in Milton Keynes, and have been adopted according to advice from the Local Authority.


Targeted interventions are provided to identified children. The Inclusion Leader, the class teacher and the trained teaching assistant will identify children requiring this support. The class teacher is responsible for implementing EAL targets and differentiating work for EAL children.


Newly Arrived EAL children

Newly arrived EAL children will receive support from a buddy in class and from the class teacher and teaching assistant to allow them to become familiar with class and school routines in the initial phase. From the parental and child interview to the time the child enters the class, there is a minimum period allowed of three days. This is to allow the class teacher to prepare any first language resources, train the buddy, and liaise with the teaching assistant regarding initial assessments and home language support, to enable the child to settle to the new environment. Bilingual staff may be used to support with this, or support may be sought from the Milton Keynes Ethnic Minority Achievement Network Team.


A newly arrived support pack provided for each class teacher, kept in the Inclusion file. Initial assessments in Maths and Literacy can be found in the support pack, and should be conducted with the child in the first two weeks of arrival. These assessments should be conducted in the child’s home language where possible. A First Language Assessment Pro-forma is also in the pack. The Inclusion Leader has access to further assessments and will liaise with the trained teaching assistant on the use of these, where necessary.


Following the initial settling period, children will continued to be supported through the use of key visuals, prompts, opportunities for success, and lots of encouragement. The following strategies may be selected from:

  • Collaborative activities: fostering participation and building confidence, e.g. card sorts.
  • Highlighting activities: inclusive, e.g. spot the capital letters, counting words used most.
  • Sequencing activities: organising stories by sequencing picture cards.
  • Barrier style games: using a simple barrier or commercial examples such as ‘Guess Who?’

Children will be regularly monitored and progress assessed using NASSEA as detailed above.


Where necessary, the Inclusion Leader will request dispersed needs support from outside agencies.


Website links

Our Monkey Maths Intervention for pupils in FS and Year 1 is particularly beneficial for pupils who speak English as an additional language.