City school recognised for supporting children who speak English as a second language

A city school has achieved a top award for its achievements in supporting children who speak English as an additional language.

Leighton Primary School has been awarded the Gold Quality Mark by the English as An Additional Language (EAL) Academy for enabling pupils of different cultures and language backgrounds to reach their full potential.

A third of the school's 400 pupils speak English as a second language. The main language spoken in addition to English is Polish, along with a mixture of European dialects including Latvian and Bulgarian to those further afield such as Kurdish and Mandarin.

Last year the school achieved the Academy's bronze award and was recommended to go straight for the gold award this year after the provision for EAL students was highly praised.

The academy highlighted the ethos and supportive nature of the school and spoke highly of the wide range of additional support and the high quality of teaching provision.

Central to the school’s success are the pupils themselves who work as language ambassadors supporting EAL children. The ambassadors offer support as reading buddies and translating work tasks. They also show new children and their parents around the school and act as mentors to allow new children to settle in well.

Teachers adopt visual teaching styles to support language development for those new to English and to aid understanding of academic concepts for more advanced EAL learners. They use a wide variety of practical resources to enhance teaching and learning including bilingual resources such as dictionaries and texts.

As a result, EAL pupils who have been at the school for a number of years perform in line with and sometimes better than non EAL pupils in most areas of the curriculum.

Headteacher Hayley Sutton said: "This is a great achievement for our school as it displays the high standard of provision that is on offer for the children that come to Leighton with little or no English language and are new to the English education system.

"Our language ambassadors play a valuable role in school and this award reflects how talented and skilled these children are to be able to speak two, three or even four languages fluently to support those children who are learning the English language from scratch. It also brings a richer education and appreciation of different cultures for all children in our school.

"Our recent Good OFSTED highlighted the effective strategies that we have in place to support those children that are new to the country and have little English language and enable them to thrive in all areas of the curriculum."

Councillor Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council's cabinet member for education, said: "We would like to say a big well done to everyone involved at Leighton. This prestigious award is testament to the hard work and dedication of staff, teachers, governors and of course the pupils themselves.

"There is much great work happening in our schools, backed up by the fact that just over 85 per cent of the city's primary schools have been judged as either good or outstanding."

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