English as an Additional Language
EAL support is provided for all students who do not have English as a first language through timetabled lessons which occur in place of a Modern Foreign Language (usually French). The department consists of three teachers, the Head of Department, Mrs Michelle Reeves and two other full time teachers, Mr James Imrie and there is currently a vacancy for a full time teacher. There are three specialist EAL classrooms which contain interactive white boards and projectors. There is also a separate EAL ICT Suite in which there are nine computers. The EAL department is well-stocked with a range of books for the varying levels of teaching required so that provision is more personalised to individual groups.
In January 2015 the School formed a partnership with Leicester City Football Club (LCFC) to establish the Thai Football Initiative in which a selection of young men from Thailand are chosen to train in a scholarship programme with LCFC, while studying English and a BTEC in Sport Science at Ratcliffe College as Academy Scholars.
Within EAL lessons students are supported in their various subjects across the curriculum. This occurs in the GCSE years in particular, as well as with the ‘A’ Level students. A key aim of these lessons is to help the students achieve grades A* to C in their English GCSE. This has been achieved by the majority of students, with some EAL students opting to take literature in addition to the English GCSE. A few students have also chosen English Literature at A Level.
In addition, students are prepared for the Cambridge English Language series of examinations. The level they are prepared for is dependent on their English level as assessed by the Quick Placement Test. While students do not always write the external examination, the syllabi help to prepare the students for the ultimate goal in Year 13 of writing their IELTS examinations.
All students who have English as an additional language are required to attend lessons until they have reached Level 7 IELTS. Thereafter, support is still provided through lessons, if desired. The focus of these lessons is to further prepare students for life after school through the study of relevant vocabulary, as well as continued development of the key language skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening. These students also
have the opportunity to help in the support of the younger students with EAL, which provides them with the experience of being mentors.
The Academy Scholars are supported within their BTEC lessons by their EAL teachers and also receive English lessons in which the key language skills are taught and practised. The students prepare for a Cambridge Language Assessment qualification relevant to their level. At first this is the Key English Test (KET), though the aim is for the majority to reach the Preliminary English Test (PET) level, with some even going on to write the IELTS examination.
Over and above the group lessons, there is also a lunchtime EAL prep drop-in session where students can bring in work with which they need help and receive the support as necessary. The EAL students are encouraged to take part in the broader life of the School so as to advance integration. EAL students are very active and successful in a vast range of extra-curricular activities.