The St Mark’s Academy curriculum intent is to empower all students including students who are new to English and refugee students as well as a large number of unaccompanied EAL students. EAL students arrive at the Academy with different levels of English and prior education. We strive for all our students to achieve academic and character excellence through drawing on their rich and varied backgrounds and delivering an inclusive, broad and balanced curriculum which enables every student to excel in their future career. We have a team of specialist staff consisting of 2 full time specialist teachers and 4 teaching assistants to support our EAL students who are newly arrived in the UK (usually less than two years in the country).
When an EAL student is offered a place at the academy, they are invited to come for an interview alongside their parents/ carers with the Director of EAL. A detailed interview takes place to understand prior education, home languages and proficiency in English. The student is then invited to sit some initial tests in the form of assessments in Maths, spelling, non-verbal and a written test in English. Based on this, the need for support is then assessed.
EAL students who arrive at the academy in Years 7-10 (up until the Spring term) are placed in mainstream classes. Students in need of support receive in-class support and additional English lessons every week until they become competent in their level of English (level D of Proficiency scale) when they return to mainstream lessons. They are provided with bilingual booklets and a buddy when they arrive at the academy, preferably a student who shares the same language. Our big ideas of everyday vocabulary and curriculum vocabulary taught alongside language structures are revisited over the syllabus. This allows EAL students to sequence learning and understanding by building on previous knowledge. Lessons are also differentiated with scaffolding and independent learning is encouraged through providing students with additional resources such as booklets that will help with understanding the curriculum in mainstream. Learners are also provided with essential tools to be able to access the curriculum through simplified texts or bilingual resources in English-key texts in KS4. Termly spelling tests and free writing tasks are used to assess progress. Results of our assessments are shared with staff so that teachers are able to plan for students as individuals and support all students to achieve their full potential. The overall percentage of bilingual students is 54% in our school. Home languages are valued and are seen as an essential tool to support bilingual and multilingual students to access the curriculum by the use of bilingual dictionaries and translated resources. Home language GCSE’s are also promoted and arranged for students to take to improve their employment prospects.
This year we have subscribed to an EAL specific language portal to allow students to improve their literacy and work is being set on the portal as well as on TEAMS to facilitate with boosting literacy. Students are encouraged to pre-learn key vocabulary before lessons and to read widely within and beyond lessons. There are also knowledge organisers to allow students to understand their learning journey. EAL Homework club is also run weekly for KS3 as well as KS4.
SMART Provision at St Mark's
EAL students who arrive in the UK in Year 10 (Summer term) and Year 11 are placed in a separate provision at St Mark’s called the SMART provision. Every year 10 places are also allocated to Year 12 students to study in the provision. Smart students are invited to come for an interview alongside their parents/ carers with the Director of EAL. A detailed interview takes place to understand prior education, home languages and proficiency in English. The student is then invited to sit some initial tests in the form of assessments in Maths, spelling, non-verbal and a written test in English. Based on this, a bespoke timetable is created for each student. Students with a good command of English (Upper Intermediate & Advanced) received a combination of lessons in the EAL Department and mainstream classes in preparation for GCSE’s (Maths, Science, Art, Religious Education, Spanish and French). Students who are at pre-intermediate stage and are beginners, remain within the provision for the whole day and are taught by staff in the EAL Department.
The Smart curriculum intends to empower students in the provision, who may or may not have had limited access to education prior to arriving at St Mark’s Academy, by providing such pupils with relevant qualifications: ESOL qualifications, IGCSE Second Language and Functional Skills Maths. Students’ rich and varied cultures are embedded into the curriculum using real world contexts; For example, texts such as In the sea there are crocodiles, Journey to Joburg and short stories from other countries are used for reading intervention. In addition, students have lessons in Drama, ICT, Science, PSHE, English Literature, Art, Geography and History to ensure that they receive a wide curriculum and to support them to become confident, resilient, independent, and to develop strength of character.
Students are also enriched by high quality impartial careers advice to ensure that pupils in EAL intervention are aware of all the employment opportunities available to them and are supported with exploring employment skills, opportunities and higher education pathways. Moreover, cultural diversity is celebrated through discussions on inclusive Christian values in class and by holding celebrations such as a whole school Eid celebration, celebrating refugee week and cultural events at the academy.
Adult English Classes
English classes for parents run throughout the year to support our parents in learning English. Classes run on a Tuesday morning 9:40 -11:00 am, and it is free to join.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Year 8 - Year 9