English as an Additional Language (EAL)

‘To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world’ – Chinese Proverb

What is EAL?

EAL stands for English as an Additional Language and is a term used to describe students in UK schools who speak a language other than English as their home language.

The EAL Provision

Our school has a qualified EAL Coordinator, Mr M Bonney, who oversees the EAL provision at The Dorcan Academy. Mr Bonney works closely with both teaching and support staff in the school to provide the best possible support for our EAL students.

There is a dedicated classroom in school which is well-resourced and equipped to support the learning of our EAL students, and includes 6 school computers, 6 laptop computers (assigned to individual students to use in class), an interactive whiteboard, a projector, and a speaker system.

The support we offer to our EAL students includes:

  • Induction programmes to introduce new students to the school environment (this includes a full language assessment). 
  • ‘Buddying’ new students with someone in their tutor group who can lend support inside and outside of lessons. 
  • One-to-one English tuition with a focus on the subject-specific language used in lessons. 
  • Small group lessons designed to improve speaking and listening skills in English. 
  • One-to-one mentoring sessions for pastoral support and guidance. 
  • Computer-based lessons using an IT language acquisition programme. 
  • Membership to the English as an Additional Language student group on Microsoft Teams, which allows easy access to online language learning materials for use at home and school. 
  • In-class support from a specialist Teaching Assistant. 
  • After school tuition and help with Home Learning. 
  • Opportunities after school to meet other students, practise English, and make friends! 

Newly arrived EAL students

New students with EAL receive a warm welcome from the school’s EAL Coordinator, who guides them through an initial English language assessment during the first meeting. This enables the school to swiftly provide an appropriate level of support whilst also getting to know the student. As part of their induction, new students are shown around the school site to help familiarise themselves with the Academy; this includes guidance in following their school timetable and where possible, meeting with key members of staff. Other students will also be on hand to support new arrivals in class and during social times, with tutors assigning ‘buddies’ to help new students to settle into Academy life. Students’ progress in school is continuously monitored to identify successes as well as targets for future learning.

EAL Intervention

EAL intervention refers to small group, focused English lessons designed to improve students’ English language proficiency. EAL students assessed below full level fluency will be invited to attend EAL intervention lessons to help them to improve their English with the aim of improving access to the school curriculum. Each student will be given a timetable to indicate when these lessons will take place. The frequency of intervention lessons depends on the needs of the individual. For instance, Key Stage 3 students with limited or no English will be given five hours of intervention weekly. Often students are withdrawn from their normal timetabled lessons to attend but this will not include the core subjects of English, Maths and Science. Class teachers are informed of these lessons in advance which enables them to provide opportunities for students to catch up on any missed work. EAL intervention lessons aim to be engaging and interactive whilst providing a structured environment for students to improve their English skills. EAL intervention is reviewed at the end of each term and students are advised of any changes to their intervention timetable in advance. In Key Stage 4, students with limited English skills will have the option of studying an English as a Second Language qualification, delivered by a specialist member of staff. This will support learners whose first language is not English, helping them to gain the communication skills needed to progress in education and transfer skills across to other subjects.

After School

As a school we are constantly seeking opportunities for our students to practise their English in an encouraging, supportive, and fun-filled environment! We offer Homework Club after school where a dedicated member of staff will be on hand to provide support and guidance with home learning tasks. A specific Homework Club for EAL students runs on Mondays and Wednesdays for an hour after school. During this time, we encourage participation with other activities, such as Conversation Club, for students to get together, make friends, and improve their speaking and listening skills.

Language GCSEs

We encourage our multilingual students to take additional language GCSE qualifications. To be entered for these exams, students also need to have a good level of English. Previous EAL students at The Dorcan Academy have been entered into GCSE Polish, GCSE Portuguese, and GCSE Greek exams. Students who are interested are welcome to contact Mr Bonney, or the school’s Exams Officer, to discuss further.

Useful websites for students

Here are some websites that will help students to practise their English at home:

Duolingo – http://www.duolingo.com/

English language activities. Sign-up for free!

A4 ESL – http://a4esl.org/

English grammar and vocabulary quizzes.

Using English – http://www.usingenglish.com/quizzes/

English grammar quizzes.

Eng Vid – http://www.engvid.com/english-lessons/

English grammar video lessons. Sign-up for free!

Many Things – http://www.manythings.org/

English Games and Activities


For any further queries regarding English as an Additional Language at The Dorcan Academy please contact Mr Bonney (EAL Coordinator) at mbonney@dorcan.co.uk

The Dorcan Academy
St. Paul’s Drive
Covingham, Swindon
Wiltshire SN3 5DA
Switchboard: 01793 525231
Fax: 01793 431461
Email: enquiries@dorcan.co.uk
The Dorcan Academy is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales under company number 07831414. The registered office is St. Paul’s Drive, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN3 5DA.