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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 ]
 
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by Astrid Dinneen - Tuesday, 22 October 2019, 12:22 PM
Anyone in the world

By Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor Jamie Earnshaw


A huge congratulations to all students who achieved a GCSE in a Heritage Language this summer! EMTAS supported 48 students with GCSEs in Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.

Here are all the fantastic results achieved by students we supported:

GCSEs graded 9-4

Language

9

8

7

6

5

4

Arabic

2

    1

German

1

Greek

1

1

Italian

4

3

Mandarin

3

1

Polish

7

3

2

1

1

1

Russian

2

1

2


Total

18

9

4

2

2

1



GCSEs graded A*-C

Language

A*

A

B

C

Portuguese

2

4

2

1

Turkish

1

1

1

Totals

3

5

2

2






As you can see, students did extremely well this summer. Many students achieved the top grades and there were individual stories of success across the board too, including one student who did really well who was previously referred to EMTAS when in primary school and was later diagnosed with SEND with difficulties in reading and writing. Even with an uneven profile of skills across Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, with support and hard work, students can still succeed and achieve a grade at GCSE. Also do note that we offer an initial one session package of assessment to help determine if a student is ready for the GCSE.

Many of the students we supported this year were in Year 11 - we wish those students good luck with their next steps! No doubt the Heritage Language GCSE will be a bonus for those students to show to future colleges or employers. Do bear in mind though it is not necessary to wait until a student is in Year 11 to enter them for a Heritage Language GCSE but sometimes the themes of the exams are better-suited to older students (so perhaps most suitable for students in Year 9 onwards).

Visit the GCSE page on our website for more information about the GCSE packages of support we offer to help prepare students for Heritage Language GCSEs. When you have decided which package you want, ask your Exams Officer to complete the GCSE Support Request and GCSE Agreement forms and return them both to Rekha Gupta using the address details provided on the GCSE Support Request form (by the deadline of the 1st March 2020).

We look forward to working on Heritage Language GCSEs with you and your students this academic year!

[ Modified: Wednesday, 12 July 2023, 12:04 PM ]
 
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by Astrid Dinneen - Wednesday, 19 June 2019, 11:10 AM
Anyone in the world

By Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor Jamie Earnshaw


The early morning birdsong, lighter evenings and even maybe some sunshine peeping out from behind the clouds…this can only mean one thing: exam season is upon us.

This academic year, EMTAS Bilingual Assistants have supported over 50 EAL students in schools across Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight, to help them to prepare for their Heritage Language GCSEs. We have supported students who speak Arabic, Cantonese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish, to name just a few. I’m sure that both staff and students will sigh a breath of relief to get to the end of the exam season this year!

Whilst we all know how stressful the exam season can be, upon receiving their results, many EAL students are given such a boost of confidence. It may well be an EAL student’s first experience of exams in this country and what better way than to acclimatise to the anomalous experience of sitting in an exam room than doing so in a subject they know well.

Nevertheless, just because a EAL student has grown up in an environment in which their first language has always been spoken, or they have had formal education in their home country, it is so important that we do not take for granted that students necessarily have the skillset to be able to take a GCSE exam in a Heritage Language without support. Do students have the skills across all aspects of the exam, speaking, listening, reading and writing, in order to be able to access the exam with confidence?

Having been brought up in the UK, where I spoke exclusively English, it was not just enough for me to turn up to the exam hall and proclaim my readiness for the English Language exam. In fact, I had 4 lessons each week, during my GCSE schooling years, in which I developed, improved and focused my language skills across speaking, listening, reading and writing. There was also the need to learn how to tackle the exams. How am I expected to answer the questions? Which skills do I need to display? What am I being assessed for?

It is essential for EAL students to have the same opportunity to have those niggling questions answered and to receive appropriate support when completing a Heritage Language GCSE. Attempting and receiving feedback on past papers and rehearsal opportunities for the speaking test are vital. It is also worth remembering that the papers are designed for non-native speakers, so the tasks are set in English. Therefore, for a newly arrived student with very little English, time might be needed to develop skills in English to a level in which they are able to access the questions or, at the very least, get used to the target question vocabulary used in the papers.

Once these initial hurdles have been crossed, the benefits for students really are immeasurable. Often, pupils achieve very good grades in their Heritage Language GCSEs and this can be a bonus when they are applying for college places or apprenticeships. It also gives students that experience of completing a GCSE examination, which, if they do earlier than Year 11, will help to ease any worries about what the experience of sitting an exam is actually like when it comes to perhaps those more daunting subjects like English, Maths and Science.

Visit the GCSE page on our website for more information about the EMTAS GCSE packages of support available to help prepare pupils for Heritage Language GCSEs. When you have decided which package you want, ask your Exams Officer to complete the GCSE Support Request and GCSE Agreement forms and return them both to Rekha Gupta using the address details provided on the GCSE Support Request form (by 1st March 2020).

Good luck to all those students (and staff) anticipating GCSE results this summer!

[ Modified: Wednesday, 12 July 2023, 12:19 PM ]
 
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by Astrid Dinneen - Tuesday, 16 October 2018, 2:30 PM
Anyone in the world

A review by Jamie Earnshaw, Hampshire EMTAS Teacher Adviser.


                                        © Copyright Hampshire EMTAS 2018

As a monolingual teacher of English as an additional language, I often find myself working with students I do not share a first language with. I tend to work with students in the secondary phase of their education, the majority of whom are working on GCSEs. This often involves having to read and use texts full of more complex, academic language, usually based on more abstract concepts. I work with students from a variety of backgrounds; some fully literate in their first language, others not able to read or write but are fully competent in speaking and listening. Therefore, the way I help students to access unfamiliar texts very much depends on the individual student. The C-Pen was quite the breakthrough for me in supporting in my role.

The C-Pen is simple to use for those who are not tech savvy. Just plug it in to charge and before long, it’s ready to use. The simple menu screen makes it easy to select the target language. Then, as easy as it sounds, the tool is ready to be used. The tool works by the user highlighting the target text using the pen, either in print or on screen, and then it provides a translation of the word in the selected other language, along with a definition of the word. So, the C-Pen can be used by students working in English who want to know what particular words are, and their meaning, in their first language. Alternatively, students using first language texts to support their understanding of key concepts can use the pen to check the definition of any words in their first language they are not familiar with, keeping in mind that higher level texts may well have advanced language students have not even learnt in first language.

The pen will read out the target word and provide a definition of the word, in the two languages selected, on the screen of the pen. For those students not secure in reading, the fact that the pen reads out the target language overcomes this possible barrier. Nevertheless, this audio functionality is of course beneficial for all EAL learners; the importance of students hearing target language modelled is a fundamental principle of good practice for supporting students who are learning English as an additional language.

Often lessons are so fast paced, it can be difficult for students to use a traditional bilingual dictionary to look up individual words. With the C-Pen, it is much easier for students to look up words in fast succession as the tool works instantaneously. And, another real benefit of the pen, is it allows students to store texts and words they have looked up in files on the pen, so students can easily go back and look at any text they have looked up during their day and they can then download the files to their computer. They can therefore easily go over any texts or words, to recap their learning. They can even use the pen to audio record any ideas or thoughts they have.

The C-Pen very much encourages students to develop their independence in accessing and understanding unfamiliar texts. Students are easily able to use the pen without support from others. Nevertheless, it is of course a great tool for students to use collaboratively with others students too. Students who speak different languages, working on the same text, can use the pen to easily switch between definitions in different languages when focused on particular words/text.

Whilst it is important for students to be able to understand language at word level, it is also essential that students are able to use the language in context. The C-Pen supports with this. As well as giving a definition of the text, it also provides a sentence, in both English and the other language selected, in which the target word is used.

The C-Pen functions in English, Italian, German, Russian, Spanish and French. It really is a must have for all learners of English as additional language. 

More strategies for KS3 and KS4 can be found on the Hampshire EMTAS website.

[ Modified: Friday, 19 October 2018, 12:59 PM ]