ESOL – English for Speakers of other Languages
At St Thomas’s, many of our students were born in other countries or are children of migrant parents. Nearly half of our students speak or understand another language, and for many, English is not their primary language at home.
We support most of our English Language Learners (ELLs) in mainstream classes through a scaffolded, targeted teaching program tailored to their individual needs. Additionally, we assist classroom teachers in meeting the needs of ESOL (English for Speakers of other Languages) children by providing strategies and resources. Depending on their needs, classroom teachers may receive between 30 to 60 minutes per day of in-class support from an English Language Assistant (ELA) or teacher aide who works with any ELLs in that class.
In our ESOL unit, we teach in small groups where the need is greatest and within the limits of available funding. ELLs with little or no English proficiency are withdrawn from classes for 30 to 45 minutes two to three times per week to work in small groups or, in some cases, receive 1:1 tuition. Our ESOL teacher, who speaks German, is supported by a team of five English Language Assistants and teacher aides proficient in Chinese, Japanese, and Farsi.
Our teaching focuses on key areas of the curriculum, especially Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, as well as integrated topic themes and general school organisation. Group sessions support classroom programmes, enabling students to better understand language, vocabulary, and concepts covered in the year-level focuses. We have access to a wide range of specialised resources and teaching aids in our well-resourced ESOL unit.
In our friendly environment, students are encouraged to ask questions that they may not feel confident asking in a collective classroom situation.