Supporting new arrivals learning English

A school rich in culture and diversity

At Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School and Nursery, all children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) are taught in an inclusive and stimulating environment. Class teachers use a range of strategies to ensure children with EAL are able to access the learning and curriculum whether they are Advanced Bilingual Learners (ABL) or New to English (NtE). The children are able to socialise and interact with their peers who speak English fluently which allows them to learn the language quickly.

The progress and attainment of all EAL learners in reading, writing and Mathematics is closely monitored by the class teacher to ensure they are doing as well as they can. The child’s speaking and listening skills are also assessed using NASSEA, these assessments support the teachers to ensure the children are able to make the appropriate next steps in their learning.

Children that are New to English (NtE) will take part in sessions based on Racing to English to help them learn English rapidly and confidently. For more information please visit the website below:

What do we do to support your child?

Here are some of the strategies we use in school to help children that are New to English:


  • EAL Buddies

EAL Buddy Checklist

A Buddy will:

  • Speak the same language as the new child if possible (If this is not possible we choose a child that will model good English and is confident and friendly)
  • Make the new child feel welcome
  • Show the new child around the classroom and point out the important places for example: cloakroom, toilets, book bag box
  • Introduce the new child to different friendship groups
  • Explain learning activities to the new child
  • Be a friend and check the new child is happy
  • Feedback to the class teacher


  • Group activities

We work in small groups to learn in English in different ways. We like to use story books and creative activities to help us. We practise reading, writing, speaking and listening and Mathematics.


  • Language of the month

We explore a new language each month by learning key words and using these in different ways. We like to do the register in different languages!


  • A multicultural school

Our school has lots of different cultures and faiths. We explore all of these and make sure the children understand the importance and significance of everyone’s cultures and beliefs. We celebrate all of these faiths in lots of different ways!

  • Experiences

We try to provide the children with experiences they may not have come across so far. We do this through our English themes and Creative Curriculum.

  • Targets

The EAL Lead and class teachers work together to track the children’s speaking and listening skills as well as there reading, writing and Mathematics skills. We then set targets that allow the children to take the next steps in their learning.


  • A language rich environment

As a school we make sure key vocabulary is taught and displayed around the classroom. We use lots of different visual resources to make sure all children can access the curriculum.


  • The EAL Toolkit

Staff at our school use the EAL toolkit to help them teach New to English children in lots of different ways!


What can you do to help your child?


  • Explore lots of different books with your child, talk about the pictures and the story. (Please download our reading strategies document to help!)


  • Practise reading and writing key words. (Please download or key word mats to help you!)


  • Spend time exploring numbers and the way they work.


  • Go and explore outside – experience the different seasons and the world around you.


  • Play lots of different word games! (Please see the links below for different games to play on the internet.)

Advice for Parents

Continue to use and develop your home language

Your child will grow up to be Bilingual and this has many advantages.

  • Learning more than one language is good for the brain. Bilingual children develop better thinking skills and get higher marks in intelligence tests.
  • If their first language is strong, they will find it much easier to learn English and cope with their schoolwork.
  • Your children will continue to learn more about and appreciate their culture through their language. They will be able to converse with grandparents, elders and other people from their linguistic background.

Learning a new language can be tiring and stressful. Your child needs to come home, relax and enjoy the security and comfort of being able to converse in the home language.

Encourage your child to take books in the home language to school. These books can be read during ‘quiet reading’ time.

How to help your child learn English

  • This is usually best done by playing games or reading books.
  • Join the public library and take out interesting books for reading. Use the library regularly in the holidays. Children can use the internet and also borrow story tapes with books to listen to.
  • Read books with your child by talking about them in your home language and, if possible, English too. It is helpful to read to your child in both languages.
  • Select good television programmes for you child to watch. Ask your child’s teacher to suggest suitable programmes.
  • When watching television, use Teletext to show sub-titles in English. This will help your child’s listening and reading