Welcoming New Arrivals

Initial Meeting With Parents

  • Arrange a meeting with the parents, EAL coordinator and an interpreter (if necessary) before the child joins your school. (contact your Advisory Teacher to book an interpreter)
  • Complete the EMTAS New Arrival Form to register the new pupil with us.
  • You can use the Initial Meeting guide (below)
  • Check pronunciation of children's names.
  • Reassure parents that maintaining and developing the home language will support learning English and enable the child to communicate with their extended family.
  • Find out about the child’s prior learning experiences and their abilities in their home language
  • Ensure that information about school processes are given at this time
  • Have a tour of the school
  • Provide parents with a translated Welcome to Devon Primary Schools leaflet - find in Bilingual Resources
  • Introduce the pupil and family to class teacher and other relevant members of staff.
  • Introduce the pupil to a pupil buddy who will support the new arrival during the first few days.
  • Ensure that there is a recognised, and understood, system of communication between home and school (home/school book  or reading diary ) and a Key member of staff to communicate with the family.
  • Make sure that parents know start date and whether there is to be a staggered entry and whether they can stay with their child on the first day

Classroom Preparations

  • Learn key words and phrases in the child’s home language and teach them to the whole class
  • Display different languages and scripts throughout the school to show that all language backgrounds are welcome.
  • Make signs and labels in other languages and use dual language books within the classroom.
  • Find cultural background information and links to traditional food/holidays etc. to use as curriculum references
  • Encourage parents' active participation in the school especially for bilingual label writing and sharing of cultural information.
  • Select appropriate "buddies" who will show the new pupil around.
  • Use a visual timetable to show the format for the day

Working with Newly Arrived Pupils - The Silent Period

The Silent Period

An initial silent period, which may last for a very short time, or even months, is a natural stage when learning a language. This is part of normal development for EAL pupils and children are not passive at this stage. It is a time for listening, and tuning into the language and routines of the lessons.  It is important not to make pupils feel anxious or under pressure to speak; they are absorbing lots of information.

Do not panic – the “Silent Period” is only a cause for concern if it is prolonged – it could last for several months.

Clarke  (1992) suggests 10 strategies for support during the Silent Period:

  • Continue talking even when the child does not respond.
  • Continue to include the child within small groups of children
  • Structure activities to encourage child to child interaction
  • Model a variety of questions
  • Use other children as the focus of the conversations
  • Use First Language as often as possible
  • Always accept non-verbal responses
  • Constantly use praise, even for minimal effort
  • Activities should include expected responses of repeating words and / or counting
  • Provide activities which reinforce language practice through role-play

If the silent period is very prolonged then you would need to find out if there are any other issues beneath the language barrier using a home language assessment . You are advised to book this through your EAL Advisory Teacher.

This information may be key to inform any decision making process. It is important to collect a wide range of evidence and meet the parents with an interpreter if needed, to gain background information, especially about previous language development.





KS1 - Initial Meetings with Parents

KS2 - Initial Meetings with Parents

Advice For Schools on Using an Interpreter

Induction Pack for EAL Parents/Carers

Checklist: Bilingual Induction

Links to National Strategies - Black Children's Achievement
Photo Collection Making an Impact on Black Children's Achievement
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