User blog: Astrid Dinneen
Anyone in the world
As the situation regarding the Covid-19 outbreak continues to unfold and as schools, parents and children adapt to their new ways of working the Hampshire EMTAS team is sharing how they will keep up their support.
Hampshire EMTAS is still open for business and colleagues are working hard in the background to maintain our usual level of support:
- The Specialist Teacher Advisors are working on new material and training and are still available for support and advice via email, telephone or videoconferencing (preferably on Microsoft Teams). They are keeping a close eye on the situation and will contact colleagues booked to attend network meetings with an update. Note some events may still happen virtually so do continue to book on and look into downloading Microsoft Teams.
- CPD continues to be available through our EAL e-learning, which is free to Hampshire schools. Please contact us to sign up.
- The Bilingual Assistant Team are going to produce translations of key resources for the EMTAS website. They are also able to produce translations and voice-overs in other languages for curriculum resources to be used with those children they’ve been supporting e.g. PowerPoints to be used in teaching inputs. If teachers in schools have anything like this they want adapted for their learners, please get in touch.
- The Traveller Team are working on new resources for schools and a contingency plan for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month, which for communities in Hampshire is being postponed but which promises a range of fun activities including line dancing and a postcard competition.
- Our language phone lines, SEND/EAL, ELSA and GRT phonelines are still running hence Hampshire practitioners and parents can continue to phone the EMTAS main phone number to speak to a member of staff. Note a list of Hampshire EMTAS colleagues’ email addresses will be shared with Hampshire schools via a ‘school com’ hence school practitioners will also be able to contact particular members of staff directly.
- Our Resources Manager is still processing some orders e.g. for digital subscriptions to the Young Interpreter Scheme but will be unable to send resources out to schools. Our Admin team is working remotely but is still responding to calls and emails from schools.
- We are working on publishing activities for Young Interpreters to carry out from home on our Moodle (free access). Note that a decision will be made about the Basingstoke Young Interpreters Conference after the Easter break.
Finally, we are keen to continue posting blogs every other week but acknowledge our original schedule will need to be tweaked to ensure articles are pertinent to our readers in these highly unusual circumstances. As far as possible our blogs will include useful links for digital resources and advice to support you and families throughout the pandemic. Please subscribe to the blog digest to stay up to date (select EMTAS on the sign up form).
We will start here with a non-exhaustive list of suggested resources which school practitioners are encouraged to share with parents where appropriate. We would like to draw your attention particularly to the Kitabu Dual Language ebook Library. A review of this library written by Hampshire EMTAS Bilingual Assistant Eva Papathanassiou is coming very soon. In the meantime, Mantra Lingua is offering parents of learners of EAL free access to the library. Please contact us for details which you can share with your families.
List of resources
Coronavirus information in other languages
- World Health Organisation (WHO) – choose your language in the top right-hand corner
- Translated posters for hygiene tips from New South Wales Health (Australia)
- Download eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines for free from Hampshire libraries
- Ebooks and audiobooks for children currently available for free at World Book Online
- Kitabu Dual Language ebook Library (blog coming soon)
- Free streaming for children on Audible. Includes stories in six languages
Resources for parents and their children
- Free resources for Young Interpreters via the Hampshire EMTAS Moodle
- National Literacy Trust – Parent Zone
- Secondary resources for home learning with the English and Media Centre
- Free British Sign Language course for under 18s
- Free home learning resources for Secondary students from the British Library Learning
- Collaborative Learning Project - Collaborative Activities are ideal for learning at home. You collaborate to make up an activity. You collaborate to do the activity. Then you sanitise the activity and pass it on to another parent or carer
- BBC Bitesize – cross-phase and cross-curricular learning resources
- BBC Programmes categorised as learning
- #stayathomestorytime - 6pm on Instagram – a daily children’s story by Oliver Jeffers
- Jack Hartman on Youtube - maths and English with physical exercises to do
- Topmarks - resources for KS1 and KS2
- The Confident Teacher – weekly themed activities and resources
- @littlelessons20 on Twitter. Two video lessons each day suitable for primary pupils
- Kelly’s Home Centre on Facebook - live free virtual cooking classes for children aged between 6 and 14
- Cambridge Assessment – offering their ResourcePlus suite, with videos and teaching resources, for free. Secondary phase
- EAL journal – for further links of suggested websites and activities
- The Royal Opera House - programme of free online content for the culturally curious at home
- ‘A list of free, online, boredom-busting resources’ from Chatter Pack. Includes links to virtual tours of museums and galleries, links to concerts and much more
- Snow Mouse – a wintry 40-minute tale for the under-fours
Online learning platforms
- Education City - resources to support literacy, numeracy and cross curricular work (including a Learn English module)
- Learning Village – blended learning materials for EAL learners
- Parents can order a free 14-day trial C-pen to be sent home in order to support their children's literacy.
Fitness and wellbeing
- Live PE workouts each morning with Joe Wicks, Body Coach, on Youtube
- PE workouts on demand with Les Mills Born to Move
CPD for school staff
[ Modified: Tuesday, 24 March 2020, 5:14 PM ]
Anyone in the world
By Hampshire EMTAS Traveller Teaching Assistant Helen Smith
During the summer and autumn terms the EMTAS Traveller Team is always busy supporting pupils through the transition period. Historically, transition was focused on the transition from Year 6 to Year 7 and although this still remains the bulk of our work, we have now developed programmes to support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) pupils from Year 2 – Year 3 (when a child is moving from an Infant school to a Juniors) and into Year R.
The period between Year 6 and Year 7 is the time when high numbers of GRT pupils are withdrawn to be Electively Home Educated (EHE); on average we lose about 30% of our pupils to EHE during this time. We are working hard with pupils, families and schools to reduce this number. During the spring term we meet to review the data and identify pupils that may be at risk of not successfully transferring to secondary school. There is a variety of identifiers for such pupils, which include:
no application for a secondary place made
low or erratic attendance
older siblings that are already EHE
children whom we have previously supported who we know have reservations about secondary school
We then begin transition work by contacting schools that have pupils on roll who have not made secondary applications and we offer our help. We may ask school to chase up the application and find out from parents if they need help or we may meet with school and the family to talk through any issues and barriers. Our position on school applications is always to make the application, even if you are not sure your child will be staying in school, then give it a go even if it’s just for a term.
Our transition programme is for GRT children who have secured a secondary place. It takes place during the summer term and can be delivered over a period of between 2 and 4 weeks. It includes a follow up visit in the child’s new school in the autumn term. The aim of the programme is to encourage the children to want to start thinking more positively about secondary school and the opportunities it can give them. The programme focuses on post-16 aspirations, necessary school equipment, timetables and routines and any worries, questions and concerns. The follow up can sometimes just be a phone call to the school to check that the child has transitioned and make sure there aren’t any problems. Ideally this would then be followed by a visit to talk to the child and help with any issues they may raise.
Last year we piloted a programme to help transition from Year 2 to Year 3 where children are transferring from an infant school to a junior school, i.e. it is not aimed at children who are attending a primary school. Due to time restraints, we target this offer at children who we think may struggle to settle into their new junior school. This can be because:
they have already attended several schools
they have only recently settled into their current infant school
there are SEND issues
they are an anxious child or parent
they have low or erratic attendance.
The Year 2 – Year 3 programme comprises three sessions in the infant school and two sessions in the junior school. The programme centres around similarities and differences between the two schools and is aimed at reassuring the child about any worries they may have about their new setting.
In 2018-19, we piloted a transition programme for children transferring from pre-school to Year R, or into Year R having not attended a pre-school. Again, these will be children who have been identified by us, the school, pre-school or parent as needing extra help to settle into school. This may be because:
the child has not attended any pre-school setting
the parent is anxious about the child starting school
the attendance of siblings has been erratic or low
there are SEND issues
extra support has been recommended by an outside agency.
The bulk of the programme takes place once the child arrives in the infant school, but ideally begins with a meeting with school/pre-school and parent in the summer term to discuss any issues and help with ideas for making sure the child is school ready. The programme involves one of the EMTAS GRT persona dolls. The doll and I visit the school during the first couple of weeks. The children show us around their school and share some of their school activities and routines. Our visits are recorded in the doll’s journal using photos and the children’s work. The persona doll and I will then visit again in the spring and summer terms and check on the child’s progress.
The aim of the transition is to make the experience as positive as possible to help aid retention in all phases, especially secondary. As a team, we believe the better the experience our GRT children have early in life, the more positive an influence this can have on their attitude to school and education, which can pay dividends in the secondary phase. The majority of Year 6 GRT pupils with whom we have worked over the last 4 years are still in school and about to enter their GCSE year. This is testimony to the dedication, flexibility and perseverance of our team, the GRT children, their families and in no small part the schools.
If you have a GRT pupil that you think would benefit from EMTAS
transition support, please use the website to make a referral in the normal way, ideally by the beginning of the Summer term.
Additional information pertaining to GRT support and staff training can also be
found on our website.
Meet Helen Smith and persona doll Jesse at the next Basingstoke network meeting on March 23rd at Marnel Infant School. Booking essential. Further details on our website's training tab.
[ Modified: Friday, 13 March 2020, 11:06 AM ]
Anyone in the world
The Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisors have been supporting schools to complete the EAL Excellence Award for over a year now. Many schools have successfully earned their Bronze and Silver awards and are already working hard to achieve the next level up. Working with schools to drive EAL practice and provision forward through the EAL Excellence Award has highlighted areas of support which the EMTAS Teacher team has been keen to address.
One particular aspect of EAL good practice which many schools have had to consider is the use of first language as a tool for learning. Whilst most could confidently say that pupils felt comfortable speaking their languages at school (a feature evidenced at Bronze level), EAL co-ordinators felt that pupils could be better encouraged to use their languages to access the curriculum in the classroom (a feature evidenced at Silver level). In response to this, the EMTAS Teachers have been working closely with their schools to introduce ideas and strategies to support this and they are now keen to share their work with the EAL community.
Discover our brand new materials which consist of a narrated animation (below) with supporting material you will find attached to this blog: a transcript, activities based around the animation and an aide-mémoire summarising key strategies. Our work is still ongoing with a brand new piece of EAL elearning currently under development – watch this space!
[ Modified: Wednesday, 5 February 2020, 12:16 PM ]
Anyone in the world
By Hampshire EMTAS Polish-speaking Bilingual Assistants Magdalena Raeburn and Katarzyna Tokarska.
Have you ever felt frustrated or out of your comfort zone because of communication barrier? Have you been on holiday abroad and found it tricky to explain what you need to your local shops, hotels or restaurants?
Imagine now, how much more complex and difficult a situation of an EAL child in a UK school might be. Try to put yourself in their shoes for a while… They come to the UK not for a holiday and not out of their own choice. They have to challenge themselves against a new language, new culture and a local community as well as the unknown school set of rules and regulations.
EMTAS Empathy Training will help you understand the complexity of the challenge that the EAL child faces every day. The aims of the session are:
- To increase awareness of the challenges that EAL learners face in the UK schools
- To give an insight into Polish learners’ cultural school differences
- To share ideas of how to approach the most common challenges experienced by the EAL learners.
During the training you will have a chance to become an EAL learner in a Polish classroom by taking part in a practical group activity on the geography of Poland. You will be expected to understand the teacher’s presentation, participate in a variety of activities, including group work, match the pictures, read and follow instructions as well as answer questions.
Would it be ‘only’ a language barrier…?
The training participants concluded that acquiring the language is only a part of the bigger picture. Cultural traits, local history, geography and customs are also a part of learning when they are trying to integrate into the new reality.
Our ‘students’ admitted that it ‘really made (them) consider other barriers than language’.
They also discovered that the manifested child’s behaviour in the classroom might have different roots rather than the ‘obvious’ ones… One of the participants said: ‘Very useful to understand how they would/could come across as ‘naughty’ or ‘distracted’’. It was an eye-opening experience.
Our workshop attendees revealed that their ‘survival’ strategy during the session was to answer ‘yes’ to any teacher’s attempt of communication. Have you got such EAL children in your classroom? Our workshop ‘students’ said it was their technique to use to be left alone rather than having to participate in the activity they do not feel competent or confident with. Our participants also felt ‘frustrated’, ‘confused’, ‘not very clever’ and ‘wanted to avoid being asked’. They were ‘easily disengaged’, ‘embarrassed when put on the spot’, ‘wanted to give up’ and ‘finally turned off’.
The session was an opportunity to face your own emotions as well as share the strategies, resources and ideas. Some strategies could involve researching information on the EAL child’s culture, educational system as well as taking your pupil’s personal experience into account.
When the EAL children join the UK classrooms, they need more than technicality of the language and pedagogical strategies. They need our empathy at every step of their challenging, new journey.
Take part in our empathy exercise at the Basingstoke EAL network meeting on January 28th. Limited spaces available and free to Hampshire maintained schools. For enquiries, please contact Lizzie Jenner, email@example.com.
[ Modified: Wednesday, 22 January 2020, 4:41 PM ]
Anyone in the world
In this new blog, Annie Kershaw shares her experience of using the EAL Excellence Award and Young Interpreter Scheme to develop practice at her school in Nottingham.
I am an EAL Co-ordinator for an inner city School in
Nottingham - Victoria Primary School. The headlines for our school are:
- The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds is well above the national average.
- There are 33 languages spoken at the school.
- The rate of pupils’ mobility is well above the national average.
- The proportion of pupils who are disadvantaged is well above the national average for primary schools.
In 2018, in response to the Local Authority cuts leading to a much reduced central service for supporting schools with EAL and BME achievement, Nottingham City sent out a request for experienced practitioners to apply to become an Advanced Practitioner of EAL (APEAL); The LA would provide specialist training and support for the APEALs and in return they would complete an in-school EAL audit and action plan, identifying current examples of best practice, an action research project, write up the report for publication on the LA website, and the APEALs would each deliver a workshop at the Local Authority EAL Annual Conference. In exchange, the APEALs received consultant support and training from the Local Authority, a network of cross-phase peers for support and specialised professional development, and access to the Hampshire EMTAS Moodle.
As EAL Co-ordinator, the Moodle was just what I was looking for. I quickly engaged with the e-learning packages for myself and for colleagues and it was great having a tool to hand which confirmed and supported our good practice in school. One of our proudest achievements was finding a way to formalise the support and training for our ‘Language Ambassadors’ through the Young Interpreters Scheme. We had already nominated children to undertake the role and asked them to do some tasks informally, but this really gave us, as a school, a structure to develop their role further, some well thought out materials to use in their training and an end goal through awarding certificates and badges. In fact, the role of the Ambassadors was recently acknowledged in our OFSTED inspection:
“Staff promptly assess the stage in learning English when pupils start school and tailor language development accordingly. They are assisted by 10 ‘Language Ambassadors’. These are pupils who have completed the accredited ‘Young Translators’ training and support other pupils, their families and staff.”
Finally, as with many of my increasingly isolated EAL Co-ordinator colleagues, I am always reflecting on whether my practice is ‘correct’ and ‘current’ or not. For me, validation for my school and for my own role came in the form of the EAL Excellence Award, developed by Hampshire. As a school, we decided to pursue the award as we accept that EAL is a big part of our identity and that we had made a lot of progress in recent years with our practice; the award seemed to us to be a good way to acknowledge that progress and a useful tool to raise the EAL profile of our school. As EAL Co-ordinator, it gave me a real structure for evaluating where we are, and how we can keep improving and moving forward with our practice in school. My colleagues were positive and encouraging and, when needed, were more than happy to provide the evidence and the support for me.
We were delighted to receive the Silver Award recently and I am already mentally preparing for our journey to Gold! The ‘Gold’ criteria has motivated me to think more holistically around our Parental Engagement and how we can make steps in this area. I look forward to the challenge!
Visit the Hampshire EMTAS website to find out more about the EAL Excellence Award and Young Interpreter Scheme.
[ Modified: Wednesday, 8 January 2020, 5:02 PM ]
Anyone in the world
By Mariana, Young Interpreter at Cherrywood Community Primary School
Hello everyone. My name is Mariana and I am ten year old. I am writing to share my experiences during the responsibility being a young interpreter for the last two years. I signed up because I like providing additional support to pupils who are learning English as an additional language.
When I was young, I went through the same thing as the pupils who I have worked with in the past terms. They did not know how to speak a lot while still needing help to join in. When I came into pre-school and Ash I did not know how to speak to people however luckily I had help from adults and even other children.
I strongly believe that I was chosen for this role because of my ability to communicate and help the other children to integrate in with their class and mates. I am also confident and do a lot of extra work around other languages.
On my first year of young interpreters all of us had special training to understand what we had to do in the different situations which might happen with Mrs Tagima, a very kind lady. Some of the things we done were playing a matching game around different countries, creating a map around us so we could learn new things around everyone and creating scenarios on situations and how we should act.
Last year I worked with a boy in year 1 which was from Nepal and this year I accepted a challenge by working with a new boy from Romania which cannot speak a lot of English.
During the role I have done lots of things which evolve:
- Helping them join into their PE lesson.
- Doing their work with them.
- Making sure that they understand.
- Helping with counting and reading.
Each year I enjoyed and had challenges to do with this role. Some of the things I found quite tricky were speaking and helping the boy because he nods but sometimes did not understand. I enjoyed quite a lot of things but here are some:
- Joining in with them.
- Helping them join in in class.
- Seeing their smiling faces.
Thinking of the book and game I made was easy. When I was in reception class my mum made a book for me to join in more. As for the game, when I was little I had a game like that so, when I observed him in class to see what he needed, I remembered that I could make him something like that to help him.
The games and books are to boost his confidence while learning English. As for one of the games, it is used to help him with his class work. Incredibly, I made the games only with household objects. My friend (Romanian) helped me translate English to Romanian.
You play the games by matching the words and numbers to their correct pairs. The book is really just to boost his confidence (like a picture translator).
Thank you very much for reading. I strongly hope you understand why I wrote this blog.
Mariana on behalf of the young interpreters at Cherrywood Community Primary School
Find out more about the Young Interpreter Scheme on the Hampshire EMTAS website.
[ Modified: Monday, 16 December 2019, 2:53 PM ]
Anyone in the world
In a previous blog, Masters candidate Debra Page launched a questionnaire aimed at exploring staff experiences of the Young Interpreter Scheme. Now officially a PhD student after successfully completing her Masters with a distinction, Debra updates us on the results of her questionnaire.
Hello readers. I hope that you’re familiar with my name by now, but if not I am conducting 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. My Masters research dissertation looked at staff experiences of the Young Interpreter Scheme with a specific focus on motivation for participation in the scheme, views around teaching pupils with EAL and effects of running the scheme on children, staff and schools. Thank you to all that completed the questionnaire. The results are in! Findings are grouped within 5 main themes:
- Empathy, self-esteem and self-concept
- Opinions on home language of pupils with EAL
- Intercultural awareness
- Misconceptions surrounding concepts and use of Young Interpreters
- Effects on academic achievement
To find out more, download the summary by clicking the link attached to this article (see top right). You can also discover findings in a poster which the team and I presented at the recent NALDIC conference; here we are in action:
From left to right: Astrid Dinneen, Naomi Flynn, Debra Page and Ludovica Serratrice
We also were involved in making promotional videos for collaborative funded studentships, can you spot any of your Young Interpreters in the videos?
If you have any questions about
the research please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org.
[ Modified: Wednesday, 4 December 2019, 4:00 PM ]
Anyone in the world
In a previous blog, Claire Barker and Astrid Dinneen discussed the benefits of setting up the New Arrival Ambassador and/or Young Interpreter Scheme for different groups of pupils. In this blog Louise Ret, Acting Principal Teacher at Gylemuir Primary School in Edinburgh, shares her experience of working with New Arrival Ambassadors to welcome a range of children joining school part-way through the year.
Gylemuir Primary is a non-denominational school located in Edinburgh. We have 570 pupils who come from a diverse range of faiths, cultures and countries. Over the past several years we have seen an increase in the number of pupils joining the school during the academic year, including pupils with English as an Additional Language. This is in large part due to the fact that our local community comprises many large banks and businesses that recruit staff from overseas, usually on a 2 year basis.
to a new school is challenging for any child, even if it’s five minutes away
from their current setting – but many of our families are also contending with
language barriers, an unfamiliar curriculum and a new job, often without the
support systems of family and friends. It became clear that we needed a way to
make families feel welcome and supported when they arrive at Gylemuir. We chose the New Arrival Ambassador
Scheme because the resource offers support to a range of pupils –
including non-EAL pupils who join our school at irregular times in the school
New Arrival Ambassador scheme has been a fantastic resource for the school
because it offers a structured approach to training pupils in peer mentoring.
In 2018 the pupils went through an application and interview process to gain a
spot as an Ambassador and this year they have taken ownership of recruiting new
Ambassadors by creating their own application form and interview questions. We
had over fifty applicants from P5-P7, proving that the children see this as an
exciting and worthwhile role.
soon as a new pupil arrives at Gylemuir they are given a tour of the school by
our Ambassadors. At break and lunch time the Ambassadors find their new arrival
and buddy up with them to play games and explore the playground. They are
always on hand to offer support and guidance, and we all check in with each
other at weekly meetings to share how our new arrivals are getting on and offer
ideas on how to support each other. We are always looking at ways to improve
and expand the role of the Ambassadors – recently this involved working with a
group of teachers from Holland who were visiting our school!
scheme has helped pupils with English as Additional Language, it also provides
support to pupils who have moved from within Edinburgh. A new pupil recently
arrived from another school in the area and not only has she been helped
by the Ambassadors, she has now become an Ambassador! Having someone on hand to
welcome her allowed her to find her place in Gylemuir quickly and confidently.
pupil wellbeing is at the centre of the scheme. Having an Ambassador buddy
means that pupils are nurtured, respected and included from the moment they
arrive at Gylemuir. For the Ambassadors themselves, the role offers an
opportunity to demonstrate their ability to be responsible and achieve success
in the wider school setting.
best part of the New Arrival Ambassador Scheme has been seeing how enthusiastic
the pupils are about their role. They take so much pride in sharing and
embodying our school values of Welcoming, Supportive, Creative and Happy and
encourage everyone in the school to do the same.
Louise Ret, Acting Principal Teacher at Gylemuir
Twitter: @MissRet1 @gylemuirprimary
Visit the Hampshire EMTAS website to find out more and sign up to the New Arrival
Ambassador Scheme. Read this blog to learn more about the similarities and differences between the New
Arrival Ambassador Scheme and the Young Interpreter Scheme.
[ Modified: Wednesday, 4 December 2019, 9:26 AM ]
Anyone in the world
Dawn Walters, Year R Team Leader at Hook Infant School, shares the exciting activities she planned as part of a Romany Gypsy Day she organised for her class.
[ Modified: Monday, 4 November 2019, 3:27 PM ]