Balbriggan Community College is a multi-cultural school with many EAL students. We know starting any new school can be daunting but that starting a new school, in a new country can be overwhelming. In response to this we have put in place measures, to help make it as smooth a transition as possible.
When EAL students start in BCC, their level of English is assessed and then they are immediately put in very small support classes, where a holistic approach is taken to help them settle in. They are taught very practical English to understand the workings of their new school and the Irish Education System and later on in consultation with their mainstream teachers, they are taught subject specific vocabulary and grammar to pre-prepare them for their other classes. In these small classes, they also have a chance to get to know their fellow EAL students and in a non-intimidating space ask any questions about their new school or new country that they may have. They are also encouraged and supported to join in with the extra curriculum activities at BCC. These classes and BCC as a whole is a place that values and respects their first languages and culture. Our diversity is one the highlights of working here and of being a student here.
BCC’s EAL support programme is part of our commitment to being an inclusive learning environment. Some of the specific steps that are taken to assist the integration of EAL students into the school community as a whole are: