English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Uplands school offers an international education to students from all over the world. To gain admittance into the school, students must have a certain level of proficiency in English. They must be able to study a range of subjects through the medium of English in order to become successful learners and achieve their academic goals.

Academic English Language Support

Even when students have a good level of conversational English or Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills, it can take some time and focused studies to develop the Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency required to access the curriculum (see an overview of BICS and CALP). Uplands, therefore, offers students a range of language support options.


In the Primary section, a trained EAL teacher provides both withdrawal and in-class support for EAL students. These classes are made up of small, mixed-age groups. Activities are designed to promote confidence in listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

A wide range of stimulating and challenging activities is provided and tolerance and respect for others are encouraged. In order to build self-esteem and self-confidence, EAL classes are small and held in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere where individual learning styles are taken into account.


Secondary students whose first language is not English initially take the CAT4 test as part of the admission process followed up by writing and speaking assessment. The test assesses their proficiency in English and grades them according to the Bell Foundation levels. As the level of English needed to function in the school increases the higher up the school a student is studying, so the level required to enter each year group also increases. A student may enter Year 7 with level B level (basic academic English) but will need to have reached at least C level to enter Years 9 or 10. 

EAL students entering the school at the Secondary level are taught by a trained English language specialist. Students in Years 7-9 receive Academic Support lessons every week, which focus on developing Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency in English, in place of Foreign Language lessons. In Years 10-11, students may take the IGCSE ESL rather than IGCSE First Language and at IBDP, these students may choose to follow the English B programme. In addition, EAL specialists will often support learners in class and collaborate regularly with subject teachers to ensure that students are able to reach their full potential.

In Academic Support and IGCSE ESL classes, students develop their written and spoken academic English by developing academic vocabulary while working on their research, report writing, summarising, and academic speaking skills. The main focus of classes in the Secondary section is to encourage rapid English acquisition and confidence building, ensuring access to the curriculum across the school.

Updated on 24 September 2020