The EAL (English as an Additional Language) Department offers overseas pupils the opportunity to improve and perfect their knowledge of English, whilst benefiting from the many opportunities and facilities the school has to offer. By the time they leave most EAL children are able to speak English fluently – a skill which will be invaluable to them for the rest of their lives.
Generally overseas pupils arrive in September and stay for a full academic year. Some join for the summer term only and of these many return later for a whole year. The majority arrive with a basic knowledge and understanding of English. They are assessed by the specialist EAL teacher and individual learning plans are compiled. The school aims to improve each pupil’s linguist skills and confidence so that he or she can join mainstream lessons. Some pupils can access most of the timetable as soon as they arrive, whilst others need more EAL support and make the transition at a slower pace.
All children develop their linguistic knowledge and expertise at their own pace and the teaching of EAL at OPS is totally flexible to reflect this. EAL lessons are taught by a specialist teacher to classes which vary in number but which are usually kept small. The focus is on developing reading, writing and speaking skills in a nurturing and caring environment. Engaging material and activities help pupils learn effectively and consolidate their knowledge. As pupils grow in confidence they are able to take part in a greater variety of subjects. The EAL teacher works closely with other staff, who are all experienced at integrating EAL pupils into the academic and social lives of the school. Even when a pupil is participating fully in the mainstream timetable, the EAL teacher maintains contact, monitors progress and is on hand to give support as needed.
As EAL pupils have particular pastoral and educational needs, all members of staff involved in their care liaise regularly with one another and with parents to ensure that every child benefits fully from his/her time at the school.