Curriculum Team Leader: Ms I Derdun

Get in touch: iderdun@rivers-aspirations.org



At Rivers an increasing number of students (currently above 300) who have English as an additional language (EAL). In the EAL Department we offer language support to those at an early stage of learning English, as well as to students who have more advanced language skills, but may still be making language errors.

Top ten languages spoken at Rivers Academy

  1. Somali

  2. Urdu

  3. Punjabi

  4. Polish

  5. Portuguese

  6. Arabic

  7. Nepali

  8. Hindi

  9. Swahili/Tagalog

  10. Chinese


The key aim of the EAL Department is to support students for whom English is an Additional Language in order to facilitate their access to the full curriculum.

The EAL department would like EAL students to:

  • feel welcome, motivated and supported by the department and the school

  • enjoy learning English

  • be increasingly confident, competent and independent listeners, speakers, readers and writers

  • make good progress in English in relation to challenging and achievable targets

  • have access to the curriculum in all subject areas

  • develop further their first or other language



For students who are new to the UK and those who move to Longford from other schools, we have developed a support system which we hope will help the students to settle in as quickly as possible:

  • On arrival: The students have a brief assessment of their English and Maths skills and non-verbal reasoning, so that we can see how best to support them. We try to place the students according to their academic potential and previous educational experience.

  • Buddies: new students are introduced to a buddy in their tutorial group and year group who look after them while they settle in. The buddies show their new friends around the school and take care of them during breaks and lunchtimes so that they are never alone.

  • EAL Staff: The new students are introduced to the EAL staff who will be working with them. As well as developing and improving their use of English, we attach great importance to the students’ well-being. We work from a room which is usually open to students at breaktime, lunchtime, and after school.

  • Our Space for Learning: The EAL room is located on the first floor of the main building, opposite Room 208. It is a large, bright, and flexible space, perfect for our needs. Here EAL teachers work with individual students, or with small groups. We have all the resources we need at hand, and also the use of computers.

  • Types of Support: Support is offered at a range of levels, and individual needs are taken into account. Depending on their level of English, students may receive weekly individual, or small group lessons to develop fluency in reading, writing or speaking, whereas more advanced EAL learners are usually supported in mainstream lessons such as English, Maths, Science, and Business. All students may receive support after school in our Homework Club.

  • Valuing their First Languages: Home languages of EAL students are valued and, where possible, the students are encouraged to sit GCSE, and A-level examinations in their mother tongue. The languages our students have taken so far include Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Punjabi, Gujarati, Dutch, Italian, and German. We co-operate with other local schools to extend the number of languages which we can offer.

  • A Shared Experience: It is important for us to encourage our students to take part in a variety of extra-curricular activities. We have our EAL Club after school on Mondays, during which students can take part in art, language, and gardening activities. It is also an opportunity to learn about different countries and cultures around the world. We also arrange each year a trip to a place of interest, such as Kew Gardens, or a theatre.

  • Support in Exams: If the pupil has been in England for less than two years they may be allowed to have 25% extra time in their exams, and to use a bilingual dictionary (for most subjects). They can have access to a supported small room, rather than sit in the main exam hall.