Better Bilingual EAL Network Meeting (Bristol)
Tuesday 27th November 2018 – Cotham School


With such a busy time of year for schools, Better Bilingual was privileged in being able to hold their EAL Network Meeting (Bristol) at Cotham school this term.

Local and national key updates were provided by Better Bilingual, led by Yasmin Malik.

Local Updates were provided on the following events and programmes all connected directly or indirectly to enhancing the provision for learners with EAL (English as an additional language):

National Updates below are all very recent development that may have an impact on how schools provide for learners with EAL, statutory and non-statutory:


Curriculum Development

‘‘Decolonising the curriculum questions the Western ‘ways of knowing’.  It recognises the impact of Western canons on knowledge formation around the world… A school engaging in ‘decolonising the curriculum’ project would, in terms of language, organise its curriculum and practices to challenge persistent errors of thinking in terms of English being the only language of merit, modernity and progress.’’
                                                               (NALDIC EAL Journal, Summer 2018. Rowena Arshad)

The main focus of the meeting was linked to the recent changes in the OFSTED Inspection Framework 2019 where ‘pupil outcomes’ and ‘quality of teaching’ will be absorbed into ‘quality of education’ in which will be added a focus on the evaluation of the school curriculum.  Bearing this in mind, there was an opportunity at the meeting to begin to explore ideas in relation to the curriculum and reflect on how to move forward with this very tangible and crucial aspect of school provision.

The discussions above were stimulated by some of the great work already being developed around a purposeful curriculum, directly linked to the experiences of the learners in Bristol. We were privileged to hear from two fantastic speakers who presented the projects that they have been involved in, to directly or indirectly improve the teaching and learning experiences of all learners but particularly inclusive of those learners from minority backgrounds.

Ali Camp from Lighting up Learning talked about Curious-city, a locally based curriculum approach focused on enquiry-led learning, taught in primary schools in Bristol and Swindon.  There is a strong and explicit focus on making relevant connections to learners’ own backgrounds, communities and areas in which they live.  Please click here for more details

Dr Madge Dresser presented her guide developed in consultation with the Somali Community in Bristol titled “We Belong Here!”– Some examples of how historical research and telling untold stories might engage pupils from non-traditional backgrounds. Madge also talked about 5 other projects she has been involved, namely the Bristol Bus Boycott project, the 1000 years of ethnic minorities in Bristol project, 2 Journey to Justice Bristol projects (Peaches Golding and the Bristol Somalis Journey through Bristol) and Local Learning’s Colston Project.  Madge also gave real examples of how such approaches might stimulate critical thinking and civic engagement. Further information on the projects can be found here

In addition to the above, we also heard from Celia Jenkins also from Lighting up Learning, speaking about the Teaching Futures programme, an alternative route into teaching.  Recruitment is underway for the next academic year. There is a real focus on encouraging those from minority groups interested in working in education to make a difference in the lives of our young people to consider this opportunity.  Please see full details here if you would like to know more.

As highlighted during the meeting, there may be a need for educational settings to review their curricula.  An initial step could be to share the information from this network at SLT level.  Please contact us if you need further support with any of the above on or

Yasmin Malik

Categories: EAL


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