Balbriggan Community College is a multi-cultural school with many EAL students. We know starting any new school can be daunting but that starting a new school, in a new country can be overwhelming. In response to this we have put in place measures, to help make it as smooth a transition as possible.
When EAL students start in BCC, their level of English is assessed and then they are immediately put in very small support classes, where a holistic approach is taken to help them settle in. They are taught very practical English to understand the workings of their new school and the Irish Education System and later on in consultation with their mainstream teachers, they are taught subject specific vocabulary and grammar to pre-prepare them for their other classes. In these small classes, they also have a chance to get to know their fellow EAL students and in a non-intimidating space ask any questions about their new school or new country that they may have. They are also encouraged and supported to join in with the extra curriculum activities at BCC. These classes and BCC as a whole is a place that values and respects their first languages and culture. Our diversity is one the highlights of working here and of being a student here.
BCC’s EAL support programme is part of our commitment to being an inclusive learning environment. Some of the specific steps that are taken to assist the integration of EAL students into the school community as a whole are:
· Introduce the student to a peer ‘buddy’, preferably someone who speaks the pupil’s first language, to help familiarize them with school layout and routine.
· Obtain necessary background information – an induction sheet is filled out in the first EAL class
· Assess the student’s level of English – Cambridge Placement Test are arranged in September of each year, for an initial assessment and then progress assessment
· Encourage parents to partake in free English classes if desired
Provision of EAL Support
· Students are grouped where possible within their year group, or according to their language levels and they will receive English language support classes. The aim is to have a flexible EAL timetable that can respond to the students’ needs at the time, with an increased provision of support for A1 students (beginners) and a sliding scale of support up to and including B1 students (intermediate).
· Students will be withdrawn from timetabled Irish classes and other classes as necessary. A programme of work will be designed and implemented by the EAL teachers, to meet the student’s needs and abilities.
· Classes are given in a dedicated EAL classroom (pre-covid), supplied with substantial graded reading materials and ICT equipment, each student has their own iPad to use in all their classes.This room will reflect and celebrate the cultural diversity through the students’ work and teacher resources displayed on the wall.
Please contact Ms. Purcell should you require any further information.