Flying the flag for Gold standard EAL provision in the City of Bristol

Located just to the east of Bristol city centre, Barton Hill Academy aspires to be a flagship school for high quality EAL provision in their Venturers Trust – and the flag is now flying proudly with their recent award of a Gold EAL Quality Mark.  Despite high rates of child poverty in the local area of Lawrence Hill (around 35%, with almost 40% of pupils on Free School Meals, according to a recent report), this inclusive primary school is the first in Bristol to be recognised with a Gold award.


What’s the reason for this? There are many – and that is key.  The children at Barton Hill Academy (85% of whom are learning through EAL) ‘feel safe, ready to learn and are respectful’ (the school’s Golden Rules) and aspire to be ‘doctors, artists, Islamic teachers’ due to a multitude of factors. These are linked to strategic senior and EAL leadership, inclusive quality first teaching, effective use of Teaching Assistants and active collaborations with parents, governors and the wider community.

Overseeing EAL provision at Barton Hill Academy is Katy Isaac, a highly experienced EAL specialist who understands that the engagement of all staff (as well as parents and governors) is essential. It’s Katy who will run specialist EAL interventions and manage her team of expert EAL teaching assistants to support access to the curriculum – but it’s also Katy who will also attend Pupil Progress meetings and be a constant source of expertise to coach and advise teachers from Nursery to Year 6 (and SLT) to develop their own EAL expertise.

Conversations with staff, parents and governors highlighted the two golden threads running through the school’s approach –  firstly that multilingualism is an asset to be flagged up and celebrated, and secondly that language development linked to curriculum work (with a heavy emphasis on oracy) is key to academic success.


Catherine Brennan

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