EAL support is provided for all students who do not have English as a first language through timetabled lessons which occur in place in the timetable, within one of the option blocks. Students get two lessons per fortnight across the fortnightly timetable.
The EAL programme which is followed in the Sixth Form is a preparation course for the Cambridge English qualifications and for IELTS. The lessons are all at the level which is suitable for the students. The department has a good range of books and resources for the different levels of teaching needed so that the teaching which is provided is suitable to the individual group of students. The main textbook for each group follows the IELTS course or the Cambridge English preparation course at the students’ English level, usually C1 or C2, though other materials are also used to make sure students have the best understanding of all parts of the course.
In 2017 Ratcliffe College became an official Cambridge Assessment: English examination centre and so all students now have the opportunity to gain global English qualifications at school throughout their time at the College.
Within EAL lessons students are supported in their various subjects across the curriculum. In addition, students are prepared for the Cambridge Assessment: English series of examinations. The level they are prepared for is dependent on their English level as assessed at the start of the academic year and based on the entrance examinations completed, as well as progress made within the year. In Year 12 students follow an IELTS course in preparation for their IELTS examinations.
As Ratcliffe College has recently become a recognised Cambridge Assessment: English examination centre, all students will now complete an English qualification towards the end of each academic year, as appropriate to their English level.
All students who have English as an additional language are required to attend lessons throughout their time in the School. In the Sixth Form the focus of EAL lessons is to further prepare students for life after school through the study of relevant vocabulary, as well as continued development of the key language skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening. There is also the specific goal of achieving the IELTS level required to attend university, usually Level 7. Thereafter the students work towards their Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency, depending on their English level at that point. Achieving level A on the Advanced or any grade on the Proficiency has the added benefit of gaining UCAS tariff points. These students also have the opportunity to help in the support of the younger students with EAL, which provides them with the experience of being mentors.
Over and above the group lessons, there is also a lunchtime EAL drop-in session where students can bring in work with which they need help and receive the support as necessary. The EAL students are encouraged to take part in the broader life of the School so as to advance integration. EAL students are very active and successful in a vast range of extra-curricular activities. The ‘Star Board’ in the EAL department recognizes these achievements.
Our EAL students are a key part of the life of the School and readily take on responsibilities over and above their everyday classroom life. EAL students are regularly appointed as monitors and Senior School prefects. EAL students are successful at Ratcliffe in a range of activities and have often been awarded School Colours for, amongst others, academics and music.
Mrs Michelle Reeves, EAL Co-ordinator,