Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Ethos
EAL provision at Copleston
Hello, hi, buna, hei, bonjour and welcome to Copleston! This is a brief guide to provision for students who have English as an Additional Language (EAL) at the school.
What is EAL?
It’s easier to explain what is not – EAL is not a learning disability nor is it a Special Educational Need. It can be a learning barrier but, like all barriers, it can be overcome. Carers whose children have EAL can tick the EAL box on our application form. This alerts the school to any additional needs the student(s) might have. There are about 200 students with EAL at Copleston which is 11% of our student population. Languages range from Bengali to Turkish to Portuguese. Research shows that being able to speak two or more languages puts that person at an immediate academic advantage as students with more than language outperform their peers at GCSE and beyond.
My child is EAL; what happens at Copleston to support them?
If your child needs support, they’ll get support. This might be through intervention, in-class support through a classroom assistant, one of our Young Interpreters or one of our year 12 support team or through differentiated tasks set by the teacher. Copleston has the highest expectations of all our students at all times and the same standard, effort, attitude and ethos will be expected of your child. Once your child is lucky enough to gain a place here, there will be an initial assessment period during which the EAL co-ordinator will speak to your child, go into lessons to observe progress, gather information and data from teachers and classroom assistants and make a judgement about your child’s aptitude in English. This judgement will, of course, change over time – most EAL students come to Copleston and make very rapid progress in both their lessons and in acquiring English. There may be some students who need additional support and the EAL co-ordinator will monitor and evaluate your child’s progress accordingly. A tailor-made programme is put together for each student but this changes over time and it may be the case that support is apparently withdrawn which means that your child’s English has progressed to a sufficient level.
What else is offered?
A number of opportunities are available for EAL students. For example, we are always in need of Young Interpreters. These are students who support other students in class and may be called on to assist with other duties at Open Evening, for example. Being a Young Interpreter is a privilege as the Young Interpreter represents the school. You can see our Young Interpreters at a glance on a visit to our school as they wear green hoodies. The team currently comprises speakers of Romanian, Portuguese, Polish, Arabic and Chinese Mandarin. We also have a group of year 12 students who volunteer to support EAL students across the curriculum and we have a dedicated team of classroom assistants who support students across the school. There is an opportunity to enter your child for their first or home language GCSE when they are 16. Entries thus far have included Arabic, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Chinese Mandarin, Cantonese and German. We have a close relationship with a local translation company that helps us if needed. There is a morning English conversation club. Lastly, we are most fortunate to have a Romanian interpreter and translator on our staff. There is a strong team ethos at Copleston and your child will benefit from this.
How can I help my child at home?
There are several strategies available to you:
- Watch a film in English at least once a week and always have the English subtitles on. Then you’ll see and hear English. This will help you to learn English quickly.
- Buy or borrow a good dictionary. Google Translate is acceptable for single words or short phrases- but please don’t rely on it!
The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students underpins all our aims. It’s about making sure that we do all we can to help our students develop into self-assured, confident, happy, positive young people. Students need opportunities to talk about their feelings and justify them in both informal and formal settings. They need to be given responsibility and trust to develop their confidence. Pupils are encouraged to question things and to balance right and wrong. At Copleston, we develop these traits by celebrating achievement and encouraging pupils to have the confidence to undertake difficult tasks and enjoy a wide range of experiences.
This dimension to every student’s learning is promoted, both within lessons and in extra-curricular activities. Here is just a flavour of how this important dimension is celebrated in the life of the school:
- Year 7 students study the world’s six major religions and the Holy Books Torah, Quran and the Bible
- In Art, Year 7 students presented their hand-made origami cranes to a Peace Conference organised by The Round Table. The crane is a Japanese symbol of peace.
- PSHEe lessons in Year 7 explore healthy lifestyles. Students are encouraged to reflect on what the world will look like if obesity and global warming continue
- Religious diversity is explored in PSHEe, RE, Art, Maths and Music lessons and celebrated on the vast array of posters around the school
- Pupils have opportunities to reflect on learning experiences both in and out of lessons. For example, team talks following sports matches to reflect on how the game was played and agree the next steps; a reflective log in music lessons where students assess what they have done well and identify the next steps to make progress; audio blogging in History to create a speech on life expectancy and how this has changed over time- an opportunity to listen back, make changes and re- record.
- In Science lessons, students study various topics that contributes to their perspective on life
- Looking at right and wrong: Year 8 students work on a Holocaust project investigating “How forgiving are we?”
- In Year 9 Religious Studies lesson, students study the sensitive topic of euthanasia
- Students show an interest in & respect for other people's feelings and values. For example in Science lessons where students may not wish to watch a dissection of the heart. We would expect all feelings to be appreciated, and accepted, in a mature manner.
- Within lessons, students investigate and offer reasoned views about moral and ethical issues. For example in a Year 10 morning registration session, students respond to “Be healthy – say no to smoking”.
- In Sociology, students learn about ethnicity stereotypical behaviours and self-fulfilling prophecies
- In History, students study the impact of how the Germans treated different sections of society
- Looking at the Jamie Bulger case in Sociology helps students empathise with parental grief and the psychological effects of child bereavement
- Fundraising activities always have a high profile within the school. Sixth Form students were recently involved with a “mayonnaise project” where students and teachers bought a jar of mayonnaise and then returned the jars full of loose change, this was a project set up in conjunction with the local Rotary club in support of their “End Polio Now” worldwide campaign. Regularly students throughout the school have been involved in raising money for Comic Relief including: cake sales, car washes, sponsored sporting events, Harlem Shake to name but a few.
- Assemblies have raised topics such as: eSafety, anti-bullying led by the Senior Student Leaders in the Sixth Form, teamwork and the 5 Rs as having particular impact.
- In Year 9 History, students study the topic of Nazi rule during WWII. Students work collaboratively with one another!
- There is a willingness to participate in a variety of social settings. In Year 7 English, classes have the opportunity to learn in a variety of settings. Expectations for learning are carefully transferred from classroom, to ICT suite, to Library.
- A willingness also to participate in lessons in different ways. In a recent pupil feedback session, many explained how random name generators and hands down questioning, used in a variety of lessons, encourages all students to put forward ideas and helps everyone to participate
- Speed dating in Maths lessons allows students to talk and work with those they may not normally share ideas with
- In History, projects around the Native Americans allow independent study as well as a collaborative approach where outcomes include Minecraft games, a life-size tepee, Native American food cooked with traditional ingredients, Barbie dolls dressed in traditional costumes
- Team work in PE lessons helps to develop leadership skills as well as a team work ethic
- The warm relationships enjoyed by students with their teachers is commented on by all visitors to the school
- Students talk about group work overwhelmingly positively:
- There are a lot of mottos to help students with self -reliance like C3 B4 ME (see 3 people to talk about issues before asking the teacher for help).
- There are also lots of opportunities for self and peer assessment which help students to be resourceful and resilient. ‘Brain, Book, Buddy and Boss’ used in Humanities to encourage self-reliance and resilience.
- The Christmas Carol Concert sees Year 7 invite in the Year 6 feeder primary and students from the local Special School.
- The cultural environment of the school is a warm and caring one created so that students may thrive
- Student successes are celebrated in as many ways as possible; posters around the school, achievement assemblies and celebration evenings all help to show students how they are valued as individuals. It is always heart-warming to see students celebrating the achievements of their peers.
- Displays celebrate and value both academic and extra-curricular achievements throughout the school.
- What’s On Wednesdays (WoW) activities, sporting, musical, creative, academic pursuits give students an element of personal choice in their learning and extra-curricular activities
- The Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) Department participates annually in the “Have Your Say” Competition where students communicate with other local schools
- The PE Department encourage opportunities for girls in what may be perceived as typically male dominated sports for example Football and Rugby.
- Students from Copleston have been successful in winning the local heats of the Rotary Club Debating competition 'Youth Speaks'. This has given groups of year 8 and 9 students the opportunity to debate against other schools (both state and public). Students giving feedback talked of the benefits for them personally as including: building confidence in presenting in front of their peers and adults; and how this directly impacted on their ability to present in learning situations back at school.
- Every year trips are offered to students across the school. Some of our trips are residential, with trips to the 1st World War Battlefields in Belgium, Water sports Activities in France, and a Year. 11 Revision residential trips. Theatre trips, museums, concerts and visits to places of interest were also offered. (For more information, please see the Trips web page)
- Year 9 worked on a project to produce an art exhibition for a local church for Remembrance Sunday. One student said ‘I enjoyed it because we got to be creative and inform people about World War One. But if we stayed in school it would only be for us and nobody else would learn’, ‘I really enjoyed going out and showing other people the importance in what we were doing.’ This is just one example of the community based positive projects students are often involved in.