Portsmouth has some of the best results in the country in terms of progress and attainment outcomes for pupils with English as an additional language (EAL). In part, this is due to the work of Portsmouth City Council’s Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) which offers both school and pupil level support.
At school level, EMAS advisers work closely with senior leaders to identify the needs of Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) pupils and those with EAL. They offer a comprehensive range of CPD and support for staff, centrally and in schools, and train in excess of 500 teachers, TAs and ITT students each year.
EMAS produces extensive guidance for schools on relevant themes, including a city-wide assessment framework for pupils with EAL, and keeps staff up to date with current issues and resources through their monthly bulletin. Advisers also offer individual mentoring opportunities to staff and whole school improvement support through learning walks, data analysis, work scrutiny, lesson observations, curriculum audits, Ofsted preparation and development planning.
At pupil level, EMAS employs a large team of Bilingual Learning Assistants (BLAs) who support the twenty or more languages of the pupils most in need in the city. Focusing strongly on improving outcomes, over 500 pupils are supported each week in schools and nurseries. The BLAs also work as interpreters for families in a range of formal and informal meetings and are sometimes called upon to contribute their expertise when considering provision. Advisers also support at pupil level with assessments and specialist identification of additional needs in pupils with EAL and work directly with refugees and asylum seekers in conjunction with the Virtual School for Looked After Children.
Further pupil support is available through the creation of bilingual resources for use in class and display materials which focus on religious, national and cultural themes. All resources are continually added to and updated and sent to schools each year. EMAS also has a library of dictionaries, bilingual books, clothes, artefacts and teacher resources for classroom use or study and holds the city’s SACRE resources.
Prejudicial Language and Behaviour Toolkit
Working with representatives of Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Councils, EMAS has produced a Prejudicial Language and Behaviour Toolkit for schools. This pan-Hampshire resource can be used when monitoring and reporting prejudicial comments and/or incidents, as well as to support school self-evaluation in this area.
Support for schools
Support from EMAS is available to schools through a service level agreement (SLA). Membership gives a school resources, updates and advice for an annual fee. Members can then buy in services on an ad-hoc basis. Schools can also buy a General Support Package, based on a proportion of a school’s EAL funding from central government and which gives access to all of EMAS’ services, or an enhanced Adviser Package. Almost every school in Portsmouth currently has an SLA with EMAS.