Kenton School Celebrates Diversity With Eal Hub

Issue 99

Kenton School, a member of Northern Leaders Trust, has embraced its multicultural student body, with a focus on those navigating English as an additional language (EAL). With a commitment to providing outstanding education to every child, Kenton School has implemented innovative strategies to support its growing EAL community.

Proud of its diversity

Since 2019, the percentage of EAL students has more than doubled, currently comprising 33.5% of the student population. With over 631 students speaking over 25 different languages, the school celebrates the array of cultures that contribute to its inclusive environment.

The belief that every student deserves access to high-quality education is central to Kenton School’s ethos. Because of this, the school has established its EAL hub, led by Katy Fawcett and Yousra El Zaltini, which offers dedicated language support. The hub is led by expert EAL support workers who, between them, are fluent in 10 languages and provide a nurturing environment where students can thrive academically and developmentally.

Challenges overcome

Despite the challenges posed by language barriers, EAL students at Kenton School have excelled academically since the hub’s introduction. In 2023, they achieved record examination results, boasting a Progress 8 score of +0.84. This success can be attributed in part to the outstanding attendance rates of EAL students, surpassing the national average (92%) at 93%.

Kenton School’s principal, Sinead Green says: “I am proud to highlight the progress that we have made in our EAL provision. Similarly to our motto, ‘All different, all equal’, which underscores our commitment to celebrating diversity, our EAL hub exemplifies our dedication to ensuring that every student thrives at Kenton School, regardless of the challenges they face.

The EAL provision at Kenton School transforms students’ lives, allowing them to transition smoothly into their new school ”

Teaching and Learning strategies

Emphasising four core Teaching and Learning strategies, the school ensures that EAL support is provided through a multitude of techniques. These strategies include :

Dual coding – which uses pictures, words and symbols to represent a word.

Trans-Languaging – the ability to think and use multiple languages at the same time.

Substitution sheets – a table which provides a range of model sentences for students to choose from.

Vocabulary slides – highlight key words relating to the curriculum with the provision of its definition, etymology, synonyms, prefix, suffix and supporting photograph.

To effectively cater to the varying proficiency levels of EAL students, Kenton School utilises a band system, ranging from Band A to Band E. Band A students are new to English and those in Band E are fluent and can operate across the curriculum to a level of competence equivalent to a student who uses English as their first language. Students are allocated to the bands through baseline tests, which enables targeted support to facilitate their linguistic development.

A great example of the effectiveness of the EAL support is Year 11 student Ayesha. Originally from Pakistan, Ayesha spent ages 3-12 living in Spain, followed by a move to England and Kenton School in 2021. When she arrived, she was proficiency Band A and bottom set in all subjects, struggling to manage tasks which someone with English as their first language wouldn’t think twice about, for example: “I couldn’t even understand my planner to know where my lessons were.”

Three years on, she is thriving and her predicted grades for GCSE English, Maths and Science are all strong passes or above. Ayesha hails her success to the supportive environment at Kenton School, saying: “The best thing about Kenton School is the way staff pay attention to me. They’ve shown me better methods of learning and are always very friendly.” Ayesha wants to study Psychology at Kenton Sixth Form and attend a British University before returning to Spain.

Kenton School’s approach to EAL provision exemplifies the transformative power of education in bridging linguistic and cultural divides. By embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive learning environment, Kenton School paves the way for every student to reach their full potential, regardless of background or language proficiency.

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