Blog entry by Jamie Earnshaw

Anyone in the world

By the Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisors




Supporting you during the school closures

During the lockdown, the EMTAS team have been busier than ever.  Our Bilingual Assistants (BAs) continue to support home-school liaison, invaluable as the lock down, distance learning and subsequent reopening of schools has necessitated good communication between schools and all members of their communities.  Many of the BAs have also been working on translations of new resources.  This has resulted in a set of three new aide memoires aimed at parents/carers new to the UK education system being made available on the EMTAS website and our Moodle’s Guidance Library. 

Meanwhile, the Traveller team have launched a postcard competition for Gypsy, Roma & Traveller History Month (June) and planned roadshows which will take place in October.  There’s more on both of these in this blog written by Claire Barker.  The team have also been supporting transition for pupils due to make the move from primary to secondary phase as well as updating the GRT pages of the EMTAS website.  This includes a new section called ‘Kushti Careers’ which features real-life, education-related success stories from Hampshire’s GRT communities.

The Specialist Teacher Advisor team have continued to offer support to schools.  Key output includes the new open access Guidance Library and Distance Learning course on Moodle, a virtual Young Interpreter Conference open to all children including those who have participated in the scheme, new guidance on setting and the premiere of a film about the EAL Excellence Award, made in collaboration with staff in Hampshire schools.  The teacher team are currently developing training deliverable via Zoom as the shift to online learning looks set to continue into the autumn term.  In fact, via video conferencing, St Peter’s RC Primary in Havant and John Keble Primary School in Winchester have this term been validated for the EAL Excellence Award, achieving Bronze whilst The Wavell Secondary School in Farnborough was validated at Silver - a motivational thought for any school working on their own submission.  

The EAL/SEND phone line remains open on Tuesday afternoons for schools to discuss any pupils about whom they have concerns, but is operating slightly differently.  Schools can still ring in using the usual number and they will speak to one of our admin team who will arrange for the school to be phoned back.  A new suggested format for schools to record such concerns has also been created and can be found here.  Our language phone lines are also still available to support with sharing information with parents/carers, answering any questions they have and helping with home-school communication. Contact details and the list of languages can be found here

The EMTAS Admin team have continued to offer back office support, maintaining records and dealing in impressively efficient ways with new referrals that have started to come in from schools.  They have also been registering school staff for resources on the EMTAS Moodle, notably the EMTAS EAL e-learning and the EAL and GRT Excellence Awards.  One, who leads a secret double-life as our Resources Manager, has also run a project with members of our Bilingual Assistant team on how to make best use of Kitabu.  This is an app from MantraLingua that gives access to their entire range of dual language texts and includes additional features and functions.  She’s also been sending out resources from the EMTAS library to schools.

 

Staffing

There have been some staffing changes this year too.  We lost Graham Ellwood, Traveller Team Manager, back in the autumn term.  His death was unexpected and he is much missed.  Following Graham’s demise, Claire Barker took over the operational lead of the Traveller Team with Sarah Coles taking the strategic lead.  We also said goodbye to Kamaljit Dulai, Bilingual Assistant Manager, who retired in April after being with EMTAS for over 22 years.  In her place, we have Eva Papathanassiou, previously our EMTAS Greek-speaking Bilingual Assistant.  Eva continues to speak Greek where it’s helpful and is now leading the Bilingual Assistant team too.

At the end of this term, we say à bientôt to Astrid, who will be taking maternity leave from the end of the summer term.  Jamie Earnshaw will be over-seeing the EMTAS blog in Astrid’s absence whilst Helen Smith, previously a member of the Traveller Team, stands in for her as the Specialist Teacher Advisor for Basingstoke and Deane schools.  Helen’s teaching background is in EYFS whilst during her six-year stint with the Traveller team at EMTAS she has led on the EYFS and KS1 transition programmes.

In September, we welcome Lynne Chinnery to the EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor Team.  Lynne’s background includes 14 years in Libya where she ran a language school and picked up Arabic. She has also lived and worked as a TEFL teacher in Greece, Turkey, Spain and China.  Lynne will be working with schools in the Havant and Waterlooville district and she has already been involved in doing a remote validation for the EAL Excellence Award for a school in that area, St Peter’s RC Primary School.  She also has experience of working with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) and delivering training on aspects of EAL practice and provision to schools on the Isle of Wight.

We also welcome Huijie Zhou (aka Nicole) to our Bilingual Assistant team.  She will be working with our Chinese families and supporting the Mandarin Heritage Language GCSEs.

 

Finally…

Like many schools, we have plunged in at the deep end when it comes to using videoconferencing and have discovered it can be used as an alternative to in-person visits to schools in various different ways.  As an option that enables schools to access services from EMTAS, we will continue to offer support via videoconferencing in 2020-21.  Alongside this, in preparation for the new academic year and in anticipation of the lockdown being eased still further by September, EMTAS have developed a detailed risk assessment to help ensure everyone stays safe when our staff are able to start visiting schools again.  We have some exciting projects up our sleeves for 2020-21 including a bedtime story project, working with parents to record bedtime stories in other languages for children to enjoy at bedtime; and an Advanced EAL Learner project that draws on cross-curricular immersive virtual experiences as drivers for speaking, reading and writing in English and other languages.  We are keen to identify schools to participate so we can get started on these – and other things too, of course. Have a great summer and we look forward to seeing you all next term!


More news coming soon


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[ Modified: Tuesday, 14 July 2020, 12:42 PM ]
 

  
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