Schools Training

Leeds school to teach English as foreign language

25 MAR 2014

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A secondary school in Leeds at which more than three-quarters of pupils do not have English as a mother tongue has introduced lessons for all pupils to teach them English as a foreign language.

The headteacher, Georgina Sale, said all pupils of City of Leeds secondary school, including those for whom English was a first language, would soon receive the extra 50-minute lesson each week.

The extra tuition would “boost their fundamental English skills and improve their basic spelling and grammar”, she said. “We hope this will allow pupils who speak English as a first language as well as our multilingual learners the same opportunity to accomplish A and A* grades at GCSE.”

Sale said 55 nationalities were represented among the school’s 314 students, including pupils from Europe, several African nations, the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. A growing number were from eastern European Roma communities.

The school’s decision follows a poor Ofsted report and disappointing exam results. In recent years the school has faced the threat of closure.

It has also had to cope with an increasing number of arrivals from abroad. Two years ago, just 40 nationalities were represented, according to the 2012 Ofsted inspection report.

Recent parent meetings have been simultaneously translated into Urdu, Czech and Polish, and the school has recently employed teachers who speak Czech, Romanian, Russian and German.

Now, the proportion of students who speak English as an additional language is about four times larger than the national figure, and many are at an early stage of learning it.

Sale said: “We are proud to be a multi-cultural school and will continue to encourage new ideas to help us to be a supportive and encouraging learning environment where all pupils are given the same chances to learn.”The extra lesson would be fitted into the existing timetable so that the school day remained the same length, a spokesman from Leeds city council said.

It is understood the plan is to shorten each of the existing lessons by 10 minutes one day a week to make room for the English class.

No additional staff would be taken on, the council spokesman said.

 

Read full article: The Guardian