Assessment of English language level
When students first apply to PBS, they take an English entrance test. Based on the results of this test and information gathered from students or parents, the student is placed in a year group and the type of lessons that are appropriate to their level of English. If your child has studied in an English-based learning environment in the past and has attained the level needed for his or her age group or if they are an English native speaker, they will join the mainstream lessons straight away.
EAL – Forms of Support
EAL support is provided for students from different language backgrounds who have limited or no experience of using English as a means for learning. The aim of these EAL lessons is to allow students to develop their reading, writing, listening, speaking and study skills to levels which enable them to participate fully, and succeed within the mainstream curriculum. Support is also given for homework and class assessments across the different subject areas (specifically for history, science and geography – the most language-based subjects) along with assistance in preparation for quizzes, tests and exams.
The following EAL support programmes are offered at the senior school:
Full EAL - an intensive immersion programme - 14 English lessons, 3 Maths, 3 Science, 2 Geography, 2 History, 2 PE, 1 Art, 1 Music, 1 Drama, 1 ICT.
EAL [7-8 lessons] + Mainstream (all other subjects) - 4 English lessons per week that focus on language + 3-4 lessons in place of both foreign languages offered at KS3.
EAL [6 lessons] + Mainstream (all other subjects) - 4 English lessons per week that focus on language + 2 lessons in place of either French or German.
EAL [4 lessons] + Mainstream (all other subjects) - 4 English lessons per week that focus on language.
If a student begins in Full EAL, we would expect that he or she would remain in this intensive programme for up to one year. All of the lessons taught are language-based. Besides English, students will study maths, science, art, music, PE, ICT, drama, history and geography. Students are tested in December, March and June. At this time, if the teachers and the test results indicate that the student has made enough progress, he/she will move into mainstream lessons. Please see the chart at the end of this booklet.
Progression from Full EAL to Mainstream
When a student is ready to move, we provide gradual progression into full mainstream. When full mainstream students study English (4 times per week), EAL students are extracted for language-based lessons. This does not mean that EAL students do not come into contact with literature. Part of the EAL curriculum delves into literature but at a rate which is appropriate for the level of English of the students.
Modern Foreign Languages and EAL Students
It is preferred that students focus on their English learning and therefore we provide support lessons in lieu of other foreign languages at first. French and German are available for all students in KS3 and therefore, when a student leaves Full EAL, he or she will continue English lessons in place of other foreign languages and then gradually take on one foreign language and then possibly a second. If a student joins our school in Year 9 with limited English and no previous experience of French or German, we do not recommend that the student begins these languages at this time. It is far better for the student to concentrate on English. All of the decisions regarding the number of languages a student studies are based on individual needs and concerns.
Student progress is carefully monitored and reviewed regularly. Students are tested every December, March and June. Decisions concerning the continuation of support are made after consultation with teachers, students and parents as appropriate. IGCSE and IB options are important considerations in the decision-making process.
Mother Tongue Lessons
We greatly encourage students who enter our EAL programme to continue study of their own first language or mother tongue. This is particularly important for students who enter the school in Y8 or above. During Years 12 and 13, students must study two languages as part of the IB diploma programme. One of these languages must be their best language, often their mother tongue. Studying your mother tongue is also advantageous to the learning of another language. Please see http://www.pbschool.cz/mother-tongue-lessons.aspx for more information
EAL groups are generally small and students are given many opportunities to improve their ability to communicate, to gain self-confidence and to develop their skills as independent learners. Our main goal is to help students feel comfortable in their use of English as soon as possible.
Students are assessed formatively on a daily basis, confirming that knowledge is being received and responded to in a productive way. Written and oral assessment is continuous (for example, a vocabulary quiz, a class discussion or a written task). End of unit tests and written assignments consolidate learning overall. All students are formally assessed at the end of each term. Students at KS3 (Y7-9) are graded according to the MFL (Modern Foreign Languages) National Curriculum Levels. At KS4 (Y10-11), students are graded according to IGCSE grades. At IB level, students are graded according to the IB scale. All of these levels of assessment are attached to this document.
We encourage all EAL students to join as many extra-curricular activities as possible. These are perfect opportunities for students to use the language skills they have acquired in a natural and safe environment.