1. A Very Young Child Whose First Language is Not English (EAL)

Background Following a placing request, one school enrolled a child whose family had arrived from a remote village on the border of Pakistan. Enrolment discussions were facilitated by the EAL service. In addition to speaking no English, the child presented as very immature and had a restricted diet. He was unable to manage the Pl classroom situation without l to l support. Solution Focused Approach The Headteacher and Support team agreed that the learning and behaviour needs of this child could only be met in a range of environments wider than the Pl classroom, since his level of maturity was similar to that of a much younger child. An essential part of the plan for this arrangement was the need to fully involve his father with the help of the EAL service since he had high expectations for his son and believed he ought to learn in the mainstream class. Support for this child was wholly met from the existing school support budget which had to be re-prioritised. Strategies Key success factors were agreed as follows. The child: • had a varied breakfast in the Nurture group; • after a calm breakfast, arrived in class with support once the P 1 class was settled; • attended the nursery class with the Pupil Support assistant for suitable activities and to access play equipment, including when the Nursery staff were on lunch break; • participated in the P 1 activities which were generally active and focused on learning through play. Range of Strategies to Promote Positive Behaviour and Improve Learning The school had in place a nurture group which helped children to identify, explore and come to terms with their feelings. Staff used clear structures such as breakfast and break times to establish good eating habits and table manners, and promote positive communication. ‘Painting parties’ had allowed parents and staff to work together to improve the appearance of the school and confirm the positive and accepting ethos. In addition, the school’s attractive environment both in and outside school, included overt positive affirmation posters, golden rules, values, and a ‘no hurting’ sign made by a child. Individualised Planning and a Flexible Curriculum in Line with Curriculum for Excellence The school recognised that this child required his own learning environment and curriculum plan. Learning through carefully planned play situations allowed the pupil the learning opportunities to come to terms with a significant change of culture and learn the (English) language in a meaningful environment. Success for all children was rewarded using stickers, certificates, the tree of achievement, the ‘high five’ club, ‘Smile Files’, and golden time. Partnership Working The child’s father was the key partner and the relationship with him was facilitated through support from the EAL service. He had high aspirations for his son, in line with his culture. In addition, the in-school Support team worked closely to plan learning across the Nurture group, the Nursery and Pl . The Pupil Support assistant built up a strong relationship with the child who gained in confidence and started to learn and feel comfortable with the routines of the school.

Successful Outcomes included:

  • clear understanding of all school staff of the meaning of inclusion and acceptance of all children and their families;
  • continued calm learning environment for all children and practitioners so that the needs of the P 1 class continued to be met;
  • increased confidence in staff to manage a new challenge in both learning and behaviour;
  • excellent partnership between the school and parents;
  • active, meaningful partnership within school and with the EAL service who ensured good communication between school and parent;
  • successful /earning by the individual child;
  • the school’s flexibility in meeting this child’s needs.