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by Astrid Dinneen - Tuesday, 26 September 2023, 11:39 AM
Anyone in the world

By the Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisors


In this first blog of the new academic year, the Hampshire EMTAS Teacher team share important news and highlights. There is much to look forward to!
 
Staffing

We are very pleased to welcome five new Bilingual Assistants (BAs) to our team:  Olena, Alex, Lana, Vlad and Kevin. Olena, Alex, Lana and Vlad speak Ukrainian and Russian (Lana speaks German too), and Kevin speaks Cantonese. Olena, Alex and Vlad will be joining Olha (who is also a Ukrainian and Russian-speaking BA) to act as B-ELSAs: bilingual ELSAs who, thanks to government funding, will be helping to support the emotional wellbeing of our refugees from Ukraine. We have also had an increase in referrals from Hong Kong and so Kevin will be joining Jenny and Catherine, our Cantonese-speaking BAs. This will help speed up response times for BA support for our Cantonese-speaking pupils.
 
GCSE results

September is always an exciting time of the year as we see results pour in for the Heritage Language GCSEs. This year EMTAS supported 152 candidates with 11 different languages and our Bilingual Assistants were delighted to meet so many talented bilingual or multilingual learners. As in previous years, the student success is spectacular! Results are still coming in, but so far more than 85% of students have achieved grade 7 or above.

Naturally it will soon be time to start the process all over again, so we are currently updating our training and processes to make everything run even more smoothly in 2024. We are grateful to all the schools who have given us useful feedback about their experience of EMTAS support and shared comments from the examiners’ reports. We look forward to achieving even more support requests for next summer when we relaunch our request form towards the end of the autumn term.
 
SEND/EAL news

After many years of operation, we closed the EMTAS EAL/SEND phoneline at the end of last academic year. However, we are still very much here to support colleagues in schools where there are concerns about a child for whom English is an Additional Language. Now, instead of waiting for Tuesday afternoon, you can phone us on our main office number at any time convenient to you during term time. A member of the team will either route your call through to the Specialist Teacher Advisor (STA) for your district OR take details from you so that your STA can phone you back. We hope that this will be a more direct, faster way of accessing support where you are working with children who are learning EAL and who may have additional needs.
 
Study Skills Programme

This academic year we are proud to be launching a new and innovative form of support for pupils in Years 5 and 6 and KS3/4 who are literate in their first language. The Study Skills Programme will be delivered to suitable pupils in withdrawal by EMTAS Bilingual Assistants. It aims to help pupils explore how they feel about their learning and their subjects and to equip them with different tools and strategies they can apply in their lessons and home learning. For example, pupils will learn to use Google Lens to create a glossary, have a go at using Immersive Reader to access a text and much more. The programme is being piloted this half-term with full roll-out planned for after the October break. To find out more about the programme and your role in ensuring it impacts classroom practice, sign up for our free network meeting on Monday 6 November at 9.30.
 
GTRSB attendance project

Some of our Traveller students have persistently poor attendance, and this inevitably impacts on their learning, progress and attainment. This academic year the EMTAS Traveller Team is going to be working in collaboration with four schools to pilot an Attendance Project. The aim of the pilot is to support school staff, Traveller parents and students to collaborate with the aim of improving the students’ attendance. It will involve regular monitoring of individual Traveller student’s attendance, regular communication with parents, coffee events and promotion of the EMTAS Traveller Excellence Award. It is hoped that this will result in a marked improvement in the attendance of the targeted students, and will also positively impact their academic progress.
 
RSE book

Relationships education became statutory for primary school children in 2020, creating a need for Traveller-specific approaches in order that children from our Traveller communities are able to access and engage with this area of learning.  EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisors Helen Smith and Claire Barker have therefore developed two books which cover the relationship curriculum in line with Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater (GTRSB) cultural sensitivities. With advice and support from members of these communities, ‘How We Keep Ourselves Safe (Jesse’s Story)’ and ‘How We Keep Ourselves Safe (Mary-Kate’s Story)’ will soon be available to schools. The books follow Jesse and Mary-Kate as they learn how to keep themselves safe as they grow up within their community and online. The books will be launched at the EMTAS conference on October 12th 2023.
 
Training offer

We have been overwhelmed by the positive uptake and wonderful feedback from our training sessions over the years. We're keen to maintain this momentum, so why not join us and ensure you feel confident, knowledgeable and equipped with how best to support our learners of EAL? There are several different training opportunities for you to take part in which include our pan-Hampshire network meetings. Our next network meeting takes place on 11th October 3.30-4.30pm with a focus on using ICT to support learners of EAL. Don't worry if you can't make it as we will revisit these sessions throughout the year. View all our training dates via our website.

In addition to our network meetings, we are once again offering SEAL training. This course is the ideal starting point for teachers and TAs, particularly those who are taking on the role of EAL lead within their school. The course consists of 6 full days spread over 2 years, allowing plenty of time to slowly embed best practice within your school. More information about the SEAL course can be found on our website.

We are almost at capacity for our EMTAS Conference which takes place on 12th October 2023.  It's set to be an incredible event with guest speakers Jonathan Bifield and Sarah Coles along with Jacob Parvin and Jack Hill. If you'd like to grab one of the last spaces, please follow this link for more information.
 
Finally...

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[ Modified: Tuesday, 26 September 2023, 1:59 PM ]
 
Picture of Astrid Dinneen
by Astrid Dinneen - Thursday, 30 June 2022, 12:53 PM
Anyone in the world

By the Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisors


1077 pupils, 60 languages, 70 countries of origin; 2021-22 has been a year like no other. In this blog, we reflect on the highlights of a very busy academic year and share some of the things schools can look forward to after the summer. Notably we discuss our response to our refugee arrivals and Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children, review our SEND work, examine how our research projects are progressing, feedback on our GTRSB work, give an update of developments around the Young Interpreter Scheme, ECT programme and Persona Dolls and celebrate the end of support for Heritage Language GCSEs for this academic year. EMTAS Team Leader Michelle Nye concludes this blog with congratulations, farewells and an update around staffing. 


Response to refugee arrivals

As we post this blog, 275 refugee arrivals have been referred to Hampshire EMTAS in 2021-22. These pupils predominantly arrived from Afghanistan and Ukraine with a small number coming from other countries such as El Salvador, Pakistan and Syria. EMTAS welcomed new Bilingual Assistant colleagues to support pupils speaking Ukrainian, Dari/Farsi and Pashto and a lot of work went into supporting and upskilling practitioners in catering for the needs of new refugee arrivals. We delivered a series of online network meetings where colleagues from across Hampshire joined members of the EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor team to find out more about suitable provision. We launched a new area on Moodle to share supporting guidance and resources. We published two blogs – Welcoming refugee children and their families and From Kabul to a school in Basingstoke – Maryam’s story. And we added two new language phonelines to our offer, covering Russian and Pashto/Dari/Farsi. 

In the Autumn term you can look forward to further dates for network meetings focussing on how to meet the needs of refugee new arrivals. There will also be sessions where we will explore practice and provision in relation to catering for the needs of pupils who are in the early stages of acquiring English as an Additional Language (EAL). In addition to this, we are planning a blog in which we will interview our new Ukrainian-speaking Bilingual Assistant to share with you the specificities of working with Ukrainian children. The team is also working alongside colleagues from HIAS and HIEP to collate FAQs from queries and observations related to asylum seekers and refugees who have recently arrived into Hampshire.  


Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC)  

It’s been a busier than usual year for UASC new arrivals too, with 11 young people being referred to us having made long and dangerous journeys to the UK on their own. They have travelled from countries such as Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea and speak a variety of languages including Arabic, Kurdish Sorani, Tigrinya and Pashto. The majority have been placed in schools outside of Hampshire and so have been profiled remotely, but some are now attending Hampshire schools meaning that we have been able to visit them in person. There is lots of advice available for schools receiving UASC onto their school roll on our website. This includes detailed good practice guidance and Welcome to Hampshire (an information guide written for the young people) translated into several key languages with audio versions also available. 


SEND work  

The SEND phone line run by Lisa Kalim continues to be well used by schools as their initial point of contact with EMTAS when they have concerns about a pupil with EAL and suspect that they may have additional needs. There have been almost 100 calls made on this line to date this academic year. After school tends to be the busiest time so if you can ring earlier, it may be easier to get through first time. It is helpful to have first read the information on our website about steps to take when concerned that a pupil with EAL may also have SEND and to have gathered the information suggested in the sample form for recording concerns before calling. In many cases advice can be given over the phone without the need for a teacher advisor visit to the school.  However, for others a visit by one of our Teacher Advisors can be arranged. This year, our Teacher Advisors have been especially busy with this aspect of our work and have completed over 60 visits since September. These have focused on establishing whether individual pupils may have additional needs as well as EAL or not and also on the enhanced profiling of those for whom a school will be submitting a request for assessment for an EHCP. 


Ongoing research 

It’s been a catch-up sort of year for Sarah Coles, with a delayed start to her data collection due to Covid affecting the normal transition programmes schools have for children due to start in Year R in September. Through the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms, Sarah has made visits to schools to work with the eleven children who are involved in her research. The children are either Polish or Nepali heritage and they were all born in the UK. This means they have not experienced a monolingual start to life, hence Sarah’s interest in them and their language development.   

The children have talked about their experiences of living in two languages – although as it turns out they’ve had very little to say about this. Code-switching is very much the norm for them and having skills in two languages at such a young age seems to be nothing remarkable or noteworthy in their eyes. They’ve also done story-telling activities in their home languages and in English, once in the autumn term and again in the summer. This will enable comparisons to be made in terms of their language development as they’ve gone through their first year of full time compulsory schooling in the UK.  
Early findings suggest big differences between the two language groups. The Nepali children tend to prefer to respond in English and most have not been confident to use Nepali despite all demonstrating that they understand this language when it’s used to address them. This has been the case whether they are more isolated – the only child who has access to Nepali in their class - or part of a larger group of children in the same class who share Nepali as a home language. In contrast, the Polish children have all been much more confident to speak Polish, responding in that language when it’s used to address them as readily as they use English when spoken to in that language. This has been the case whether they’re more isolated at school or part of a bigger cohort of children. 

The field work ends in the summer with final interviews with the children’s parents and teachers. Sarah then has a year to write up her findings, submit her thesis and plan how best to share what she’s learned with colleagues in schools. 
 

Young Interpreter news

This academic year Astrid Dinneen launched the Young Interpreter Champion initiative. Young Interpreter Champions are EAL consultants outside Hampshire who are accredited by Hampshire EMTAS to support schools in their area in running the Young Interpreter Scheme according to its intended ethos. Currently 6 Local Authorities are in our directory with more colleagues enquiring about joining.

Established Young Interpreter Champions met on Teams in the Summer term to find out how the Young Interpreter Scheme is developing in participating Local Authorities and to plan forward for 2022-23. They also heard more about Debra Page’s research on the Young Interpreter Scheme under the supervision of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism at the University of Reading and with Hampshire EMTAS as a collaborative partner.  

The aim of Debra’s research is to evaluate the scheme’s impact on children’s language use, empathy and cultural awareness by comparing Young Interpreter children and non-interpreter children. Her third and final wave of data collection took place during the Autumn term 2021. This year is dedicated to analysing her data and writing her PhD thesis. Her chapter on empathy and the Young Interpreter Scheme is complete and she will soon write a summary about this in a future Young Interpreters Newsletter. She also looks forward to sharing results of what is found out in terms of intercultural awareness and language use.   


GRT update 

It has been a very busy year for the GRT team. Firstly, we will be moving towards using the more inclusive term of Gypsy, Travellers, Roma, Showmen and Boaters – GTRSB when referring to our communities. 

As usual our two Traveller Support Workers Julie Curtis and Steve Clark have been out and about supporting GTRSB pupils in schools. The feedback they receive from schools and families is very positive. The pupils look forward to their opportunity to talk about how things are going and they value having someone listen to them and help sort out any issues. Our Traveller team lead Helen Smith has been meeting with families, pupils and schools to discuss many issues including attendance, transport, exclusions, elective home education (EHE), relationships and sex education, admissions and attainment.  

Helen, Sarah Coles and Claire Barker have also been working on an exciting project to help schools support their GTRSB pupils with the Key Stage 1 and 2 compulsory relationship curriculum. The team have created two books that follow Mary-Kate and Jesse as they navigate their way through the issues surrounding growing up safely. The book has been written in consultation with members of the Romany, Irish Traveller and Showmen communities and is currently with an artist who is working on the book’s illustrations. 

Helen has been lucky enough to work with some members from Futures4Fairground who have advised us on best practice when including Showmen in our Cultural Awareness Training. Members of the F4F team also attended and contributed to our schools’ network meeting and to our GTRSB practitioners’ cross-border meeting. 

The team was busy in June encouraging schools to celebrate GRT History Month. We devised activities and collated resources around the theme of ‘homes and belonging’. Helen attended an event to celebrate GRTHM at The University of Sussex. It was aimed at all professionals involved in working with members from all GTRSB communities in educational settings. It was encouraging to see so many professionals attending. Helen particularly enjoyed watching a performance of Crystal’s Vardo by Friends, Family and Travellers. 
Sarah and Helen have been making plans for celebrating World Funfair Month in September. We have already put some ideas together for schools on our website and hope to develop them further with help from our friends at Future4Funfairs. 

Looking forward to next year, as well as reviewing our GRT Excellence Award, we will be looking at how best to encourage and support our schools to take the  GTRSB pledge for schools  - improving access, retention and outcomes in education for Gypsies, Travellers, Roma, Showmen and Boaters. Schools that complete our Excellence Award should then be in a position to sign the pledge and confirm their commitment to improving the education for all their GTRSB families.  
 

Early Career Teachers (ECT) programme

The Initial Teacher/Early Career Teacher programme that Lynne Chinnery is preparing for next academic year is really coming together. After a large proportion of student teachers stated they were still uncertain how to support their EAL learners after completing their training programmes (Foley et al, 2018), the EMTAS team decided to do something about it. 

Lynne has collated a set of slides to train student and early career teachers on best practice for EAL learners by breaking down the theory and looking at practical ways to implement it in the classroom. The sessions cover such areas as supporting learners who are new to English; strategies to help students access the curriculum; assessing and tracking the progress of EAL learners; and information on the latest resources/ICTs and where to find them.

The programme has been made as interactive as possible in order to reinforce learning, with training that practices what it preaches. For example, it provides opportunities for group discussions that build on the trainees' previous experiences. The trainees can then try out the strategies they have learnt once they are back in the classroom.  

Lynne Chinnery has already used the slides on a SCITT training programme and the feedback from that was both positive and useful. One part the students particularly enjoyed and commented on was being taught a mini lesson in another language so that they were literally placed in the position of a new-to-English learner. This term, Lynne and Sarah Coles have met with an artist who is designing the graphics for the training slides - once again demonstrating a feature of EAL good practice: the importance of visuals to convey a message. The focus in the autumn term will be a reflective journal for student teachers to use alongside the training sessions. 


Heritage Language GCSEs

This has been a particularly busy year for us supporting students with the Heritage Language GCSEs. We received 136 requests from 32 schools. We provided support for Arabic, Cantonese, German, Greek, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish. For the first time this year, we also supported a student with the Persian GCSE. 

The details of the packages of support we will be offering next year will be shared with you in the Autumn term. You can also check our website. Remember to get your referrals in to us in good time! 

We wish all students good luck as they await their results! A big thank you to Jamie Earnshaw for leading on this huge area of work. Sadly Jamie is leaving at the end of the Summer term. Claire Barker returns from retirement to take over the co-ordination of Heritage Language GCSEs from September. 


Persona doll revamp

Persona Dolls are a brilliant resource which provide a wonderful opportunity to encourage some of our youngest learners to explore similarities and differences between people and communities. They allow children time to explore their own culture and learn about the culture of someone else. The EMTAS team currently have around 20 Persona Dolls, all of which come with their own identity, books and resources from their culture to share and celebrate.  

Now some of you may have noticed that our Persona Dolls have been enjoying a little hiatus recently. What you will not have seen is all the work that is currently going on behind the scenes in our effort to revamp them. Within our plans we aim to provide better training for schools so that you as practitioners feel more confident in using them within your classrooms. Kate Grant is also looking at ways to incorporate technology so that you can have easier access to supporting guidance, links to learn more about the doll’s heritage and space to share the experience your school has of working with our Persona Dolls.  EMTAS know that our schools recognise the value of this wonderful resource and look forward to seeing the positive impact they will have on their return.  


Finally, a conclusion by Team Leader Michelle Nye

The last time EMTAS topped 1000 referrals was 7 years ago so it has been one of the busiest years we have experienced in quite a while. This was due to the exceptional number of refugee referrals and to a spike in Malayalam referrals whose families have come to work in our hospitals. On top of this we had over 120 new arrival referrals from Hong Kong; these children are here as part of the British Hong Kong Nationals Overseas Programme.    

EMTAS recruited additional bilingual staff and welcome Sayed Kazimi (Pashto/Dari/Farsi), Tsheten Lama-North (Nepali), Kubra Behrooz (Dari), Tommy Thomas (Malayalam), Jenny Lau (Cantonese) and Olha Herhel (Ukrainian) to the team.   

We are delighted that schools have been committed to improving their EAL and GRT practice and provision and have achieved an EMTAS EAL or GRT Excellence Award this year.  Congratulations to St Swithun Wells, Bramley CE Primary, St James Primary, Marchwood Infant, New Milton Infant, St John the Baptist (Winchester District), Bentley Primary, St Peters Catholic Primary, Swanmore College, Poulner Junior, Grayshott CofE Primary, The Herne Primary, Wellington Community Primary, Marlborough Infants, John Hanson, Fleet Infants, Fairfields Primary, Swanmore CofE Primary, Brookfield Community School, Fernhill School, New Milton Junior Elvetham Heath and Red Barn Primary.  

We say goodbye to Jamie Earnshaw, Specialist Teacher Advisor, who has been with EMTAS since 2012.  During his ten-year tenure, his work has included producing the late arrival guidance on our website, developing our Accessing the curriculum through first language: student training programme now available for pupils in both primary and secondary phases, and for leading on our Heritage Language GCSE work.  His are big shoes to fill and we will miss him immensely; we wish him every success in his new venture.   

Enjoy your summer holiday and see you again in September.  
 
 

Data correct as of 30.06.2022 
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[ Modified: Monday, 9 January 2023, 11:26 AM ]