Gold EAL Quality Mark Award for the British International School in Ukraine

It will not be a surprise to learn that the British International School Ukraine has had a tough time recently. Nonetheless, after evacuating its staff from Ukraine, it rapidly created a remote learning system maintaining the key elements of its learning offer for pupils with English as additional language that underlines how worthy the school is of the Gold EAL Quality Mark.

It is a multilingual school where over 90% of learners speak English as an additional language, often alongside two other languages. It enjoys its diversity. The curriculum is offered in both English and Ukrainian with parents choosing the mix they desire for their children.

At the heart of the school’s success is a major training initiative which has over the last two years given more than half the staff access to the acclaimed Teaching in English in multilingual classrooms course.[1] Its colour coding of the three key elements of written and spoken sentences (participant, process and circumstance) features in individual lesson plans and can be tracked across schemes of work. Structured talk in pairs and small groups has received an increased emphasis since learning has become remote and online.

Very striking in my conversations with senior and middle leaders was the consistent reference to talked based pedagogy underpinned by visual support (including pictographs for key instruction words), flexible seating plans, a focus on language structures and extending vocabulary. This consistency is across both the age range (in an age appropriate way) and, in normal times, across the two campuses in Kyiv and the one in Dnipro.

All the staff I spoke to have a clear understanding of the EAL assessment systems in place and, as a consequence, high expectations of EAL learners rooted in secure knowledge of how long it takes to acquire English. However, the most striking thing of all about the school is the pride that everyone takes in having such effective provision for its EAL learners.

[1] This course is for teachers in UK schools.  Teachers elsewhere should book via LexisEd.

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