|The purpose of the department is to help pupils whose first language is not English to acquire the skills for study in the medium of English and to support their integration socially and linguistically into all areas of school life.
All overseas pupils are offered English tuition on their arrival at Christ College. In the Lower School there are four timetabled lessons per week and in the Sixth Form pupils have three lessons per week in addition to their four AS subjects. Junior pupils are encouraged to join mainstream English lessons once their language is adequate and take GCSE English and English Literature.
Those who arrive later or who feel more confident taking a second language examination sit the IGCSE English as a Second Language in the Fifth Form. In the Sixth Form all pupils who do not have GCSE English take the IELTS test. This test is a necessary qualification for study at a UK university.
The department is available to support pupils individually in their studies with specific language issues as well as giving advice on university applications, presentations or any other linguistic or cultural challenges. Throughout the year the department runs a programme of cultural visits and social events to enrich the pupils' knowledge of Wales and the UK and also to celebrate their own cultures and traditions.
The Head of Department has taught Latin and Greek in numerous schools so understands the intricacies and challenges of learning a complex foreign language. He also taught for several years in Malawi and so appreciates the difficulties experienced by students who are studying in a second language. His experience as a Housemaster and currently as Head of Futures is invaluable is guiding pupils through the UK university application process.
Although the home culture and varied experiences of our pupils from abroad are very much valued, the intention at Christ College is always to integrate overseas students into the school as a whole so that they derive maximum benefit from their time studying here. In this way, we feel that Christ College offers a unique level of support for its overseas pupils.
Since pupils arrive at Christ College at very different ages and levels of ability a fixed syllabus is inappropriate but course content is guided by these principles:
- Pupils entering the First and Second years with a reasonable level of English should be encouraged to join mainstream English classes as soon as possible, leading to GCSE in the Fifth Form. For most however the acquisition of language survival skills in the first term, followed by a grounding in basic grammar and communicative skills over the rest of the first two years, is the major element of the course. There is also normally a considerable input of subject support.
- Pupils entering in the Third Form or Fourth Form should aim to sit the IGCSE examination by the Fifth Form. A structured course is followed to prepare pupils for this examination. Individual subject support is also available if required.
- Sixth Form pupils with fluent English should take the IELTS test in the Lower Sixth year, after which they should require no further input unless they request subject-specific support. Pupils are taught in preparation for the IELTS test, which covers listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. Extensive practice provides them with the techniques required to take the test successfully. The IELTS test is taken at the end of term.
- If required, less fluent Sixth Form entrants continue with EAL lessons in the Upper Sixth and retake the IELTS test until they achieve the score they require for entry to UK universities.
TIMETABLING - In Year L7 to the M11, EAL pupils who are not attending mainstream English lessons are timetabled for four lessons of EAL per week. Other pupils may receive EAL lessons instead of foreign language lessons. In the Sixth Form three lessons per week are also available for the Lower Sixth groups. Upper Sixth pupils may attend these lessons if necessary.
CHARGES - All EAL pupils are entitled to four lessons per week without charge in their first year at Christ College. Thereafter lessons will be charged at the school's standard rate. Pupils are encouraged to ask for guidance from the department and there is no charge for tutorial advice. However for a structured course of private tuition charges will be made at the school's standard rate.