User blog: Jamie Earnshaw

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by Jamie Earnshaw - Thursday, 3 September 2020, 3:29 PM
Anyone in the world

By the Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisors


EXA Discussion


We hope you had a wonderful, relaxing summer break and are now refreshed and ready for the new academic year. In this first blog of 2020-21, we are taking the opportunity to share with you some of the exciting projects we have been working on and to signpost some things to look out for in the year ahead.


EAL Excellence Award film debut

A few months ago, before the lockdown, five EAL coordinators from local primary and secondary schools in Hampshire LA came together to talk about their experiences around entering for the Hampshire EMTAS EAL Excellence Award. It was a highly successful morning with lots of sharing of practical ideas. We thank Anne Marklew (Harestock Primary School), Dawn Tagima (Cherrywood Community Primary School), Stacey Barnes (Ranvilles Infant School), Eileen Rawlins (Cove Secondary School) and Sophie Durbajlo (Merton Infant School) for kindly allowing us to video this session for the purpose of disseminating best practice more widely within the local authority and beyond.

The themes explored in the video include:

-  the benefits of entering for the award

-  preparing for the award

-  submitting data and evidence

-  next steps and working towards the next level

Watch the video here.


Training and resourcing 

We are really pleased to welcome to the EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor Team Lynne Chinnery and Helen Smith. Lynne will be supporting schools in Havant & Waterlooville, and Helen will be covering Basingstoke & Deane whilst Astrid is on maternity leave. 

Our training activities for 2020-21 include a series of network meetings.  We have added to our offer network meetings aimed at an NQT and RQT audience to get people started in the right direction when it comes to practice and provision for EAL and GRT learners.  Other network meetings are also available so if you’re interested, see our website for more information and for details on how to book.  The first of our network meetings this year will be held online.  If your school would be willing to host a network meeting towards the end of this term or later in the year, we'd love to hear from you.  If you can’t attend one of our network meetings, don’t forget our EAL e-learning is an on-tap way of accessing training and it’s free to staff in Hampshire-maintained schools.

Two new services we offer schools in 2020-21 are EAL and GRT clinics.  During an EAL Clinic, a Specialist Teacher Advisor visits the school on a pre-arranged date and meets individually with members of staff to discuss 1:1 the EAL children in their class.  Please see here for more information.  For schools with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils on roll, the GRT clinic model may be more relevant.  This is aimed at supporting the GRT Co-ordinator on staff to develop and embed best practice for GRT pupils, including Showmen.  For more information, see the EMTAS website.  We are launching for 2020-21 a Kushti Careers page showing the achievements of members of the GRT community and how education has influenced their life choices

The very successful 6-module Supporting English as an Additional Language (SEAL) course is due to run again from October 2020 to July 2022.  The advantage of sending a member of staff on this course is that you will have an EAL expert on staff who can advise colleagues about EAL best practice and cultural aspects that may affect a child’s learning and/or ability to settle into their new school environment.  For further information see here.

Date for your diary:  Friday 9th July 2021 is the next EMTAS Conference. It promises to be an exciting and informative day with EAL and GRT speakers and workshops that will impact on your practice in the classroom.  Look out for communications on the conference throughout this term.

In case you missed it before the summer holidays, we released our guidance on entering EAL learners for the autumn GCSE exam series. The guidance includes information about the autumn 2020 GCSE exams, factors to consider when deciding which EAL learners to enter and suggestions as to how to support EAL learners who are entered for the exams. Keep in mind that the exam boards’ deadline for entering learners is fast approaching: 4th October for English and Maths and 18th September for all other subjects.

In light of the changes to the Heritage Language GCSEs in the autumn, particularly the removal of the speaking tests, we have adapted our packages of support to focus on preparing students for the Reading, Writing and Listening exams. Full details can be found here. Please complete the request form on our website and return to the EMTAS inbox: emtas@hants.gov.uk

Hot off the press, we have just released our guidance on the placement of EAL learners in sets, groups and streams. A copy of the full guidance can be found on our moodle, alongside our other Position Statements.  We hope that this document will help to inform decisions made by all school staff about the best sets, groups or streams in which to place learners for whom English is an additional language.

Another useful resource which has just been updated and is available to use on our website here is the audio version of ‘Welcome to Hampshire’ in English, our information guide written specifically for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people.  This is aimed at those who can understand English but who are not yet able to read it sufficiently well to access the booklet independently.  Our website also hosts translated version in Arabic, Farsi and Pashto, aimed at children and young people who are literate in these languages. 


Young Interpreter Scheme research update

In other news, Debra Page’s PhD research evaluating the Young Interpreter Scheme’s impact on children’s language use, empathy, and cultural awareness continues.  Debra is now recruiting schools for her data collection phase.  Since Debra’s last blog in May, her teacher questionnaire has closed and findings from this will be released in a few months’ time.   If your school is interested in taking part in this exciting research project, do email debra.page@pgr.reading.ac.uk; she will be very happy to discuss her project and what it involves with you.

  

Developing the writing of more advanced EAL learners (AEL) project

This year EMTAS is planning an all new cross-phase project aimed at improving the writing of more advanced EAL learners (and non-EAL peers) using authentic reading and writing experiences. The project aims to use cutting edge technologies (two types of Google tools) to engage learners in creative experiences that link with existing Programmes of Study and project-based learning already happening across the curriculum.

There are two elements to the project:

a. Providing online sources of rich multimedia experiences around topics and themes that support work already going on in the curriculum. These experiences contain authentic high-quality texts that act as a model for children prior to designing their own versions.

b. Enabling children to create their own multimedia versions using the Google tools within Google Earth and Google Poly (3D/Virtual Reality).

The main text-type is likely to be information-based although the experiences may also feature elements of explanation and persuasion or discussion depending on the subject and topic.

Any schools wanting more information or who are interested in taking part should contact Chris Pim - chris.pim@hants.gov.uk

 

Finally…

Like schools, we have been working on a comprehensive Risk Assessment to support our staff to begin safely visiting schools again after the lockdown.  We recognise that the Covid-19 scene is subject to frequent change and our aim is that our Risk Assessment will keep pace with the situation as it continues to develop.  Schools can be reassured that we take the safety of pupils, families and all school-based colleagues as seriously as we do that of our own staff and we are working hard to come up with creative ideas for ways we can continue to offer support where it’s needed.  If you have any suggestions to make to that end, do get in touch.


More news coming soon


Visit the Hampshire EMTAS website

Subscribe to our Blog Digest (select EMTAS)


[ Modified: Monday, 7 September 2020, 1:44 PM ]
 
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


Visit the Hampshire EMTAS website

Subscribe to our Blog Digest (select EMTAS)


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