Our Ethnic Minority Achievement Team supports and advises staff in schools on how they can meet the needs of pupils learning English as an additional language (EAL) and raise the attainment of children from minority ethnic groups.
You can find out more about this service at our Equalities and Diversity website.
The team consists of support and advisory teachers who help raise the attainment of children from minority ethnic groups by:
- working directly with schools and children
- helping schools carry out assessments of newly arrived pupils
- giving advice and guidance to schools on resources, teaching and learning;
- training school staff
- monitoring pupils' progress to make sure children who are underachieving are given the help they need
- advising and working with parents and carers on ways of helping children to make the most of their education
- supporting anti-racist development work
- helping schools and young people to challenge racism
- supporting and promoting bilingualism and cultural diversity
- liaising with other education teams to make sure that the needs of children from Minority Ethnic backgrounds are considered when local and national initiatives are introduced; and
- working with other agencies such as Health, Social Services and Somerset Racial Equality Council (SREC), as well as other teams in the Education Service
You can find out about the English education system by reading 'Learning Journey'. You can order a copy of this and other helpful booklets from the Department for Education and Skills Parents Centre website.
You can find out if a school has a place for your child by phoning a school directly or by phoning us on 0300 123 2224. If you do not speak English and would like an interpreter, please say "I do not speak English. I speak .... Please could I speak to an interpreter?"
If your child does not speak English, your child can go to a school which has a place for them. This is normally your nearest school.
As a parent or carer you need to work with the teachers and discuss ways of helping. There are lots of ways you can help your child. For example, you can:
- share books by talking about the pictures in your home language
- talk to your child about what they have done at school in your home language
- use bilingual books and dictionaries
- attend any workshops organised by the school or the Ethnic Minority Achievement Team
- ask the school to send home a list of important words for your child to know and make sure your child understands the meanings
- attend classes to help you learn more English yourself.
You can arrange for your child to have extra English lessons after school but you need to remember that the child may be very tired after spending a day at school, speaking in English. You know your child's needs best.
When your child starts school, support will be organised by teachers once they know what your child's needs are. The Ethnic Minority Achievement Team provides advice to schools on how your child can best be supported.
If your child is called names in school or treated unfairly, speak to the Headteacher at the school or contact us. An information leaflet is available to parents and carers of children who are racially harassed.
Schools will listen to requests based on ethnicity. For example, if you are not happy for your daughter to wear shorts for PE and would prefer her to wear tracksuit bottoms, the school will respect this view.
The purpose of the Ethnic Minority Achievement policy is to clarify the action the Local Authority and schools should take to:
- ensure that services to pupils from Minority Ethnic groups enable the five outcomes to be achieved
- prepare all young people to participate in our increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society
- support the development of strong and confident identities for all pupils, as individuals and members of communities
- eliminate discrimination and racism
- value and celebrate diversity