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Olivia O’Connor, Inclusion Manager, Discusses the Challenges Faced by EAL Pupils

Hillside Junior School is an inclusive school which celebrates the diversity of its pupils and community, with nearly half of the 240+ pupils speaking a home language other than English.

We caught up with the Inclusion Manager, Olivia O’Connor to talk about how the school is using FlashAcademy® to increase provision for pupils with EAL.

“It’s a fantastic resource to support pupils who are completely new to English and really accelerates their learning.”

Olivia O’Connor, Inclusion Manager, Hillside Junior School

What’s the biggest challenge facing pupils with EAL?

“Many of our EAL pupils have never been to school before, so creating lessons tailored to their level was challenging.

“This is what initially interested us about FlashAcademy®; all the vocabulary content is supported by visuals and audio, meaning pupils who are completely new to English and unable to read in their home language can start learning immediately.”

Which part of the platform is having the biggest impact?

“Before FlashAcademy®, it was sometimes taking months for pupils to talk in English. Even if they understood the majority of what was being said to them, they weren’t comfortable speaking aloud. It helps that pupils can take the platform home to practise. They love the speaking challenge, but they feel much more comfortable trying out their pronunciation at home first, then school.”

How often are pupils able to use the platform?

“We have structured intervention sessions every day for an hour for pupils who need extra help, but we also allow pupils to access the platform in class if an activity is set that is going to be too challenging.”

What are the outcomes you have seen using FlashAcademy® at the school?

“Well, pupils love it – they enjoy competing against classmates on the leader board, giving them a great sense of accomplishment. It’s a fantastic resource to support pupils who are completely new to English and really accelerates their learning.”

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