There has been so much interest about a Tweet I posted recently about a question I was asked by an Ofsted inspector. I thought I would make a note of some of the questions I was asked to support colleagues in EAL or teachers that have EAL learners so that you might have some idea what they will ask you about.
Firstly, the context! I am an EAL Coordinator in a large secondary school with 66% of the learners being defined as EAL. We have large range of proficiency levels ranging from DfE Code A (New to English) to DfE Code E (Fluent). I was quite surprised that an inspector wanted to discuss EAL with me because I assumed that EAL was not on their radar anymore. Unfortunately, the focus now seems to have shifted away from our area to other areas. However, I was delighted to get the chance to talk about EAL and here are some of the questions I was asked.
- What interventions (if any) do you provide for EAL learners? All Year groups
- Because we have an EAL Option block, I was asked which subjects they missed out on? however, they don’t as they have full access to the curriculum and the EAL option is one they can chose / are directed to choose.
- How do you monitor progress of EAL learners?
- How do you monitor progress of EAL learners in Y7?
- How do you assess their language proficiency?
- What strategies would you suggest for reading?
- How are you supported by senior leadership?
- How do you ensure that EAL learners are making progress?
- What sorts of CPD do you give to teachers regarding EAL?
- Where can teachers find information on EAL learners at the school?
- Tell me about the EAL department
The inspector had a reasonable grasp of the Department for Education’s Proficiency Codes (A measure of proficiency in English ranging from A – E). This is interesting seeing as the requirement to use the codes has been taken away by the Department for Education! The inspector seemed to know that EAL learners on Codes A – D would require some level of EAL support depending on their proficiency. Again interesting seeing as codes have now been disbanded! However, this was quite uplifting to think they still bear the codes in mind when thinking about EAL provision. One can only hope that the DfE codes are put back in place or something similar. Our EAL learner’s language proficiency and development need to be monitored to ensure that their needs are being met!
I didn’t have long with the inspector but I feel I gave a good account of EAL provision. However, I did not receive any direct feedback which would have been beneficial in looking at how to make improvements.