EAL Coordinator - Mrs R Cayless

Email: rcayless@fernhillschool.org.uk

Fernhill welcomes students of all nationalities and we are very proud of our school community.

In December 2021, Fernhill was awarded the EAL Excellence Gold Award from the Ethnic Minority Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS); we are thrilled to be the first secondary school in Hampshire to achieve this.  The award recognises our ongoing work with students who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL) and their families. Areas that were assessed in order to achieve the award included Teaching & Learning, Pedagogy & Practice, and Parental & Community Engagement. We would like to thank all the students, staff and parents who contributed to this achievement. 

Around 15% of our students speak English in addition to at least one other language, resulting in an impressive array of languages spoken in total: currently 22 including Nepali, Bengali, Portuguese, Romanian, Polish, Slovak, Bulgarian, Ndebele and Pashto.

EAL (English as an Additional Language) students joining us in Year 7 from Primary school will be assessed along with their cohort during their induction, but will also have an informal interview, so that additional support can be organised if necessary. Students joining at other times will also have an initial assessment so that specific support can be tailored to their current level of English. EAL students participate fully in mainstream lessons, but may also receive some individual or small group academic support sessions. Where needed, students are provided with extra resources to work on at home to help develop their English language skills and acquire new subject vocabulary.


EAL Policy

Support from the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service

We work closely with the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) when personalising provision. Wherever possible students are visited by a bilingual assistant who speaks their home language, to advise on strategies for making good progress in school. We also arrange meetings with students and their families to ensure that the student has settled in well and is happy at school.

For helpful advice about bringing up your child in a bilingual family, here is the link to the EMTAS website page for parents and carers:


If you would like to speak to a member of staff from EMTAS in your home language, here is the link to information on the EMTAS phone lines:


Young Interpreters

We have an enthusiastic group of 20 students trained as ‘Young Interpreters’ who ensure that new EAL students are well supported in school. The Young Interpreter Scheme won the Guardian Public Services Award in 2013 and is a highly regarded in the UK and abroad.  This group meets regularly to produce multi-lingual signage so that all of our students can see their home language represented in their learning environment. They also support EAL students with learning in lessons through discussing topics and translating vocabulary. We are very proud of their work and all that they do to promote inclusion through leading by example.

The Unity Room

 We have a dedicated EAL classroom named The Unity Room by our Young Interpreters, where EAL students can access the support and resources they need to progress and fulfill their potential.

Heritage Language GCSEs

We place a high value on each student's home language (heritage language), providing guidance and assistance to students who wish to take heritage language GCSEs where this is appropriate. Our EAL students have recently achieved excellent grades in the following language GCSEs:

 Turkish, Portuguese, Russian Polish and Spanish.

Equality and Rights Advocates (EARA)

 We have a dedicated group of students who are passionate about promoting equality and human rights in school. We meet weekly to discuss pressing issues in society such as homelessness, mental health, climate change, global inequality and all forms of discrimination whether based on race, disability or sexual orientation. Three times a year we go to Winchester to meet students from other schools in in Hampshire who are also Equality and Rights Advocates, for excellent discussions on how we can make a difference to our community.

Family Learning Classes: English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Funded by Hampshire Achieves, Hampshire EMTAS runs free ESOL classes for adults (19 plus) who are in the early stages of learning English.  For more information, contact Hampshire EMTAS.  Email: EMTAS@hants.gov.uk     Phone: 03707 794222