Contact: Ms J de Regibus: Head of Bilingual Support
Ethnic minorities make up about 50% of the school roll and 70 different languages are spoken by the school’s students and staff. The Bilingual Support team at Hampstead School ensures that students whose first language is not English have full access to the Curriculum and achieve to the best of their ability. The team caters for the needs of complete beginners as well as more advanced EAL students, providing regular in class support and teaching English in withdrawal classes. UK born bilingual students have an opportunity to improve their literacy skills as well as speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. English as an Additional Language (EAL) students who have been in the UK for less than 2 years and are at an early stage of language acquisition, must attend the Induction Programme lessons where they are introduced to key skills and key concepts in different subject areas.
The Bilingual Support team works with a large number of asylum seeking or refugee students and their families, providing support in and out of lessons, working closely with Heads of Year, tutors and external agencies to ensure these vulnerable students achieve the best support and feel safe in the school. The team believes in strong, active partnership with ethnic minority parents as the best way of increasing motivation and developing relevant learning experiences. The Somali Home-School Link worker organises annual meetings for Somali parents to inform them about the pastoral system, assessments, extra-curricular support, bilingual support and regularly liaises with Somali parents regarding the issues of behaviour, academic progress, attendance and punctuality.
The Bilingual Support team runs a variety of extra-curricular activities, both at lunch time and after school. They operate an open door policy for all bilingual students who wish to get help with homework, projects or assignments. All EAL students are encouraged to take GCSE exams in their mother tongue.
Every year the Bilingual Support team organises a huge celebration of the school’s cultural diversity. The International Festival attracts lots of students, their families and the local community. Students run stalls from many different countries, selling food and arte facts. A performance of international music, dance and poetry is organised in the school hall. No bilingual student feels that they should cast off their home language or the culture of their country when they cross the threshold of the school. Hampstead School values the students’ cultural backgrounds and celebrates the ethnic and linguistic ethos of the school.