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Illiterate pupils

(13 Posts)
CisMyArse Wed 12-Sep-18 22:47:20

Evening all. Have any of you had experience of an asylum seeker arriving at your school at the beginning of Year 11, with a tiny amount of spoken English, but being totally unable to read nor write in either their mother tongue, or English? Would your school provide some sort of support or intervention for this child? Sorry this seems sketchy - I don't want to be identified and don't want to seem disloyal to my school, but this doesn't sit right with me.

OP’s posts: |
CisMyArse Wed 12-Sep-18 22:50:22

Sorry - I should be a little clearer. I have a pupil who is illiterate and thus not gaining any meaningful education, apart from hearing English being spoken. My school doesn't appear to be doing anything proactive to help this pupil to read or write and I'm at a loss.

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ThrowThoseCurtainsWide Wed 12-Sep-18 22:53:21

I worked as a TA and we had a student in y10 join from overseas who couldn't speak English. They could, however, write in their first language. They had a support plan in place and as a TA I kept a close eye on how they was doing in our lessons to check understanding. I was in the maths dept though so probably much easier to grasp in a foreign language than other subjects. Pretty sure they also had 1:1 interventions with support staff in other subjects to boost their English. A term or so in and their English had come on leaps and bounds and they had integrated really well.

I would be expecting that the student would be on a reduced timetable, but have some lessons with their peers, probably ones that were less reliant on writing. Other lessons would be spent in some sort of hub / learning resource centre / with a 1:1 specialist to get them to make as much progress as possible by the end of the year.

ThrowThoseCurtainsWide Wed 12-Sep-18 22:54:29

*they WERE! I changed it from a gendered pronoun hence the error grin

CisMyArse Wed 12-Sep-18 23:01:23

Thanks. I'm in a city school so we're really accustomed to overseas pupils who are literate in their native language.

This one has me at a loss though - illiterate in her native language and barely able to speak English. We don't have a 1:1 specialist and they are currently relying on another pupil to translate the more difficult spoken words. I really, reallyl want to help but don't know where to start. The subject I teach will be absolutely NOT a priority for them, so I want to be able to provide something meaningful. I've asked SMT a few times and I am starting to feel like I'm being ignored.

OP’s posts: |
Oliversmumsarmy Wed 12-Sep-18 23:07:30

Given there doesn’t appear to be any support for children with English as their first language I doubt that someone who doesn’t speak English would be treated any differently

ThrowThoseCurtainsWide Thu 13-Sep-18 00:07:38

I guess as they have come from overseas they won't have entry data, therefore won't have a progress 8 score so SMT don't really care sad

I would just try to talk to them every lesson. Practicing spoken English is probably the nosebleed useful thing for them at the moment. Ask simple questions and encourage them to talk to you. What did you have for lunch? Do you like cats? If you're art talk about colour names. Can they write their name? Are there computers in your classroom? Can they type their name? I don't know whether there is some form of phonics teaching for adults?

I have no idea really OP. Have you asked your SENCO about them?

ThrowThoseCurtainsWide Thu 13-Sep-18 00:09:13

Most, not nosebleed! My typing is clearly not great tonight!!

preggersteach Thu 13-Sep-18 00:13:02

So in my school we have quite a good eal department and when this has happened the students would only go to core lessons and in their option time they would be in the eal department doing extra English. However I remember to taught a Syrian girl who spoke to English at all and my subject is science and the poor girl had no clue whatsoever what was going on, the idea apparently just exposure to the language would help her to learn English, there was no in the school who spoke Syrian at all already. I really felt for the girl as it must've been such an awful experience for her. It did work in the end whatever they did with her to learn English as she is now reading medicine at university (she came to England when she was 14)

CisMyArse Fri 14-Sep-18 16:11:23

Our EAL department has had the boot - department = 1 person - they're leaving next month, leaving just 2 EAL contacts for the whole of our county.

Basically, this child is screwed. It'll take them about 10 years to get to functional literacy to be able to access the curriculum - they'll be 25 by then.

I feel really exasperated. And sad.

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OddBoots Fri 14-Sep-18 16:21:34

I am not a teacher so feel free to ignore me but it seems unlikely that this student would manage what we would usually see as much in a year but if this child has got to the age of 15 and not learned to read and write then anything you can do is going to be a big difference for that particular student. It is sad but it is also positive because this child now has chances they don't seem to have had before the move.

This year needs to be a focus on what can be done but more importantly this young person is entitled to further education after school so supporting them in finding the right place to go and develop is going to be the thing that makes the difference.

borntobequiet Sat 15-Sep-18 09:06:02

Some years ago now but I had a lovely Afghan lad join my ICT GCSE class half way through Y10 - very little English and had never used a computer. For some reason (totally beyond me) the school thought it would be possible for him to achieve the qualification. It was nonsense of course. Instead, he used the time to improve his English - other students used to help him for say 5 min at a time during a double lesson as a break from coursework - and eventually he made a little website in English about the Afghanistan cricket team. We all gained from the experience - it was wonderful to see his progress and the other students were so supportive - but of course I had to put up with constant harassment from SLT because I wouldn’t set him up to fail.

WrongKindOfFace Sat 15-Sep-18 09:19:27

What about contacting the esol team at your local adult ed college? They’ll have experience with adults (and they almost are an adult) who can’t speak English and have poor/non-existent literacy skills. Also speak to those who teach basic skills for English speaking adults as they may be able to advise

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