Moving to a new school is an exciting time for parents and children. At the BSN we value your multilingualism and we will support you as your child will learn a new language.
Staff at all our schools are very experienced in welcoming children and parents from all around the world. We are also very practised in assessing children from different educational backgrounds and are aware of how that can initially impact on their learning in the classroom.
What is English as an Additional Language (EAL)?
In many schools, English language acquisition is referred to as ESL (English as a Second Language) but as many of our students are already multilingual, the British School uses the term EAL (English as an Additional Language).
We work with children at all levels of English language development.
Many of our students, from nearly 90 nationalities, are already proficient in English as a personal and academic language. For those who are developing their English in a school context, we provide specialist support both within the mainstream classroom and in small group or one-to-one EAL classes.
Junior School EAL Learners
English in the Junior School is taught both within the classroom and in EAL with specialist teachers. We use Translanguaging to connect your child’s languages and allow them to learn academically whilst learning English.
Senior School EAL Learners
When a new student applies to join the school, we are keen to establish how much language support they will need to access the curriculum and the community of the school. If the student and their family is still living outside The Netherlands, we organise an informal online assessment of their language via video call. When they arrive in The Netherlands, we can assess their needs further in person and learn more about their language background.
How is EAL taught in the Senior School?
Students who need extra support to develop their English work with language acquisition specialists in small groups. A wide range of materials are used to facilitate language learning in meaningful and realistic contexts for the age of the students and in close collaboration with subject teachers.
In addition to this, we provide in-class support for small groups and individuals, where possible, to support the development of classroom skills and strategies for the development of academic English literacy.
Academic language development is a long-term but rewarding journey for students learning EAL. We constantly assess progress and reduce support incrementally as students are increasingly able to access and respond to the curriculum successfully on their own. Timetable changes and decisions regarding changes in support are always taken in consultation with the students themselves and with their parents.
As the curriculum at the BSN is delivered exclusively in English, the priority is to develop academic English to the point at which students can access the content of lessons independently.
In Years 7 to 9, this means swapping some language lessons for EAL lessons so that students can fit specialist support into their timetables.
In Year 10 and 11, students opt to take EAL lessons in support of their language development and GCSE courses.
Generally, we advise parents that students who are new to English will not be ready to access GCSE courses if they enter the school in Year 10, but individual circumstances will always be carefully considered.
It’s important to note that students may be tired after a long day in English, particularly if they are at the beginning of their language acquisition journey. Reading fun and motivating material in English, as well as tuning into English websites and videos at home, is a great way to develop an interest in the language and motivate students to move forward.
However, we strongly believe in multilingualism and the most important part parents often play is talking to their children in their home language which supports the development of their personal and academic register in both languages.