Gold EAL Quality Mark for North Ormesby Primary Academy in Middlesbrough

If you live in North Ormesby, you are three times less likely to have a degree level qualification than in the country as a whole. If you are an adult male, you are four times as likely to be in receipt of benefits. Four years around 11% of Y6 pupils had English as an additional language. Today the Y6 figure is 30%. The increase is driven largely by Kurdish refugees and East European Roma.

These are not propitious circumstances for raising achievement. However, in 2019 the proportion of pupils at North Ormesby reaching the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics was just three percentage points below the national average compared to 21 percentage points below in 2017.

So congratulations to North Ormesby  the second AET school to receive the Gold EAL Quality Mark, following in the footsteps of Lea Forest.

What does North Ormesby do so well?

Whoever you are and wherever you are from, the school celebrates your heritage.  Pupils growing up in a very tough world need to be resilient. The structures are in place to promote resilience and support mental health. The school’s outstanding pastoral provision gives its children the confidence to pursue academic excellence.

There is good use of new technology, with translation apps an aid to good teaching and learning, not as a substitute for it. There is also a huge focus on an older technology known as printing. Everywhere you go in North Ormesby there are lots and lots of books, including dual language books in most of the languages spoken by pupils. Key visuals are also a central part of the school’s pedagogy.

A major strength of the school is its nurturing of new arrivals in mainstream classrooms. It also knows what it needs to do next, with training in LiLAC techniques for more advanced EAL learners a feature of the last year.

Towards the end of my visit, I talked to the six pupils who act as Young Interpreters. They were a diverse group who had been in the school for between one and six years.  I asked them what to tell me what they thought was the best thing about the school. There were different words in the answers (I feel accepted, I am valued, people are kind to me, the adults always have time to help you) but the same message. At they very end of my visit I told the principal, Craig Nicholson, what his pupils had said. I think I saw the beginnings of a proud tear in his eye.  And why not? North Ormesby Primary Academy really is a very special place

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