English as an Additional Language (EAL) & English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Welcome to the EAL department at Copthall School which has a diverse and multi-lingual student population. More than 40 different languages are represented in our school community and the diversity of language, culture and religion is an integral element of Copthall’s inclusive ethos.

A learner of English as an additional language (EAL) is any student whose first language is other than English. This means that a wide range of students can be classified as EAL, for example someone born in Barnet whose parents speak Somali, to someone who was born and educated in Spain but has come to the UK aged 15. The EAL department caters for the emotional, social and academic needs of students who speak English as an additional language who range from complete beginners to pupils with a higher level of English proficiency.

You may contact the EAL department via email


Copthall School is committed to providing learning opportunities and good quality teaching and learning for all students in the school, this includes making appropriate provision for students who are new arrivals to the country and for students who have English and an Additional Language who may need in-class support. The school recognises individual students’ needs and aims to ensure equality of access to the curriculum for all.


The EAL department provides a range of intervention to EAL students where needed including in-class support and withdrawal groups. Priority is given to students who are new to English and those who arrive late in the year.  Provision is varied and aims to meet individual student’s needs.

A range of resources are used to promote students’ linguistic development including bilingual dictionaries, computer software, ICT, maps, key word lists, dual language books, EAL textbooks and teachers’ tailormade English language resources.  Key visuals and graphic organizers are used across subjects to support organization of language and thinking across the curriculum. We provide support to mainstream teachers by planning strategies with teachers to develop English language skills in EAL pupils and assisting with differentiated materials.

We encourage use of the home language amongst the students from similar language backgrounds to aid development. We also encourage students and families to continue the development of the first language alongside English in order to advance all-round language development. For more information on this topic, please visit:


The EAL department liaises with Directors of Learning to create a timetable which is designed around the specific amount of EAL provision the student requires. While this means that some students will miss some curriculum time in certain subjects, they will gradually return to these subjects as their English language skills develop. Directors of Learning also ensure that EAL students can access paired mentoring with volunteer students, preferably sharing a common language/s (“buddy” system).

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

ESOL lessons are available to all EAL students born outside the UK who speak a language other than English with their family from Year 9 onwards. ESOL lessons provide an alternative learning pathway for pupils with no or little English at KS4. ESOL facilitates access to the mainstream curriculum by strengthening students’ reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.

Subject Information

ESOL qualifications are designed to equip bilingual learners with the English Language skills, knowledge and understanding they need to study, live and work in the UK. Learners will develop the basic literacy and English Language skills that they need to improve their studies. ESOL qualifications will enable students to gain more confidence with communicating and provide students with the key skills that would enable them to improve grades in other subjects.

ESOL Assessment

The qualification gained is Edexcel ESOL Skills for Life (ESOL Skills for Life – Edexcel – QCF Specifications). Assessment involves two tests in Reading and Writing, leading to two separate awards. Learners take the tests when they are ready. ESOL tests are internally assessed and externally invigilated.

The levels are as follows:

ESOL Entry 1: Designed for students with little or no English. Reading - Learners will learn how to follow simple text, recognise purpose, learn how to decode a limited number of familiar words and locate information from simple written sources. Writing - learners will learn to write to communicate basic information and to use basic punctuation and spelling.

ESOL Entry 2:  Designed for students with some knowledge of spoken English but who need to strengthen their skills in grammar and comprehension. Reading - Learners will learn how to read short straightforward texts, including information texts for purpose and meaning and use simple strategies to decode words and support understanding. Writing - learners will learn to write to communicate simple information writing legibly, using common punctuation and spelling familiar words correctly.

ESOL Entry 3: Designed to reinforce existing knowledge of the language from a daily and social perspective. Reading - Learners will learn how to read and understand straightforward texts and information and use a dictionary to find the meanings of new words. Writing - Learners will learn to plan their writing, write in short paragraphs and learn to write legibly, using correct basic punctuation, spelling and grammar.

Level 1: Designed to introduce students to the world of work and further study. Reading - Learners will learn how to read and understand meaning and purpose in a variety of texts and how to obtain information from different sources. They will learn how to use reference materials and spelling strategies to support understanding. Writing - Learners will learn how to write to communicate ideas for different audiences and purposes and to use accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Level 2: Designed to prepare students to the world of work and further study. Reading - Learners will learn how to read for purpose and meaning in texts of varying complexity and how to obtain information of varying length and detail from different sources. Writing - Learners will learn how to write to communicate information, ideas and opinions clearly and effectively for different purposes and audiences and how to improve the fluency and accuracy of their writing.

ESOL provides a stepping-stone into Foundation learning and other qualifications. With an Entry 3 and/or Level 1 you can access most mainstream college courses. The qualification is widely recognised by FE colleges, employers, the Home Office and educational institutions overseas. For more information, please visit


In order to introduce EAL and ESOL students to aspects of British culture, visits to London landmarks and museums are organised throughout the academic year. Although this cannot always be guaranteed, it is an enriching experience that we aim to offer.

EAL students can get involved in projects about raising awareness of languages around the school, for example this year we celebrated International Mother Language Day with a competition. EAL students translated signs into their languages and Year 7 students did a treasure hunt to find the languages and learn more.

Links for Home Learning

Recommended links to useful websites for home learning:

Subject Documents Date  
EAL Policy 2020 24th Jun 2020 Download
ESOL specification 24th Jun 2020 Download
EAL provision 24th Jun 2020 Download
Parent Guidance on Home Language 21st Oct 2020 Download
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