ENGLISH AS AN ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE PUPILS AND FAMILIES
YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING – GETTING INVOLVED
DID YOU KNOW?
Taking an interest in your child’s education is the most important thing you can do to help them achieve their full potential.
You don’t have to speak English or be a teacher to help your child at school. Even if you didn’t enjoy school yourself, there are simple ways to make sure your child stays motivated. The following tips will help.
15 Practical Tips
1. Get to know the school’s curriculum so that you know what your child will study every year
If the school are following the new National Curriculum and you have access to the internet; go to: www.gov.uk
You will find out what subjects your child will study. You can also visit a library, where you will be able to use the internet for free.
2. Get to know the system of assessment used in school
The school may use the national system of assessment in England. Each school has their own system to track progress. Talk to your child’s teacher and find out the targets your child is working towards, in particular for the three core subjects: English, Mathematics and Science.
If your child is learning English, ask the school about the assessment system for English as an Additional Language (EAL) pupils.
3. Show your child you are interested by:-
4. Give them a quiet place to do homework
If you think there is not enough room in your home, clear the kitchen table for an hour or two in the evening.
5. Help with homework - but do not do it for them!
Help your child with their homework by discussing it with them in your native language. You can do research together. If you can’t help, ask the class teacher for advice. Many schools run homework clubs where EAL pupils can receive support.
6. Make the most of English TV and the internet
Watch English TV programmes that interest your child. This will help them to improve their English and learn about English culture.
See below for a list of useful websites.
7. Take days out that are relevant to schoolwork
Plan family visits to places of historical interest, museums, galleries that are related to school work. This will bring lessons to life.
8. After School Clubs
Encourage your child to join an after school club. This is an opportunity for your child to make friends outside the classroom, to further practice their English and to assimilate English culture.
9. Have a handy schoolwork ‘toolbox’
Keep a box of pens, pencils, rubbers, etc… Buy a bilingual dictionary and an English language thesaurus or use an online bilingual package such as Google Translate so that your child has all the ‘tools’ they need to do their homework.
Mathematics is a universal ‘language’. Help them to apply Mathematical concepts in everyday life, for example adding up a bill or talking about fractions when dividing up a pizza to be shared.
11. Promoting the home language promotes learning English
Contrary to popular belief, research has proved that, when bilingual children are articulate and literate in their home language, they are better able to transfer these skills to learning to speak, read and write in English. Make opportunities for talking, reading and writing in your home language. Schools recognise that bilingualism is an asset. Having more than one language also boosts your child’s intelligence.
12. Get a good attendance record
Any time off from school affects your child’s progress. Make sure they arrive on time and give them a healthy breakfast before they leave home (it helps their concentration). If your child is absent, the school must be advised immediately and on each subsequent day of absence. Please note that the compulsory school age in England
starts at 5 years old (Reception Class). However children often start at 4 years of age. The early years setting is the ideal environment to
learn English, so a good attendance record will ensure a good start for your child.
13. Stay in touch with the school
Your child’s teacher is a great source of help and advice – not just if your child is having problems. They will be able to suggest other ways in which you can help your child with their schoolwork. If you find the language/culture barrier makes communication difficult, ask to see the designated English as an Additional Language Coordinator (EALCO) or speak to the head teacher.
14. Get involved in the wider school community
Join the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) or become a parent governor. Approach your school for details.
15. Don’t forget to say ‘well done’!
It is particularly important to praise children. If your child is at the early stages of settling into school life and learning English, their efforts need to be acknowledged often. Moving to a new country can be a very difficult transition for children and the effects of ‘culture shock’ may last well into their first year. Congratulating your child often will motivate them and encourage them to do well. It shows them you genuinely want to support them to succeed at school.
Making the most of parent’s evenings
At least once a year, you will be invited to your child’s school to discuss his or her progress. These meetings are a great opportunity to meet teachers and talk about positive ways to help your child move forward.
Before the parents’ evening
Talk with your child about what they have done well and what they could do better. Look at your child’s report together.
Encourage teachers to talk about more than just schoolwork – this is a good time to discuss attendance, friends and issues like bullying.
Make a list of questions to remember to ask at the parents evening. Check if the school wants you to take your child too.
Meeting the teachers
Remember…..teachers are there to help you, not test you.
This factsheet was collaboratively produced by The Family Information Service (FIS) and The Ethnic Minority Achievement Service
For more information contact FIS:
Telephone: 0845 090 8044 or 01926 476600