In line with the current SEN Code of Practice, having English as a second language is not considered to be a special educational need.In line with our commitment to welcome pupils from a diverse range of background to the College, dedicated lessons are offered to pupils who do not speak English as their first language. 

Our specialist English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher, Mrs Patricia Wallace, assesses international students when they first visit the College, and again at the start of each academic year to determine their needs.  EAL pupils are taught on an individual basis or in small groups. The pupils have at least one lesson per week, but most have more. This additional, tailored support allows them to rapidly develop their language skills and access GCSE and A Level courses as they progress through their school life. 

EAL Programme 

EAL lessons are planned to meet the individual needs of the pupils. Year 9 pupils may need more support with oral or listening skills, but older students usually require more help with their writing and reading comprehension. Many pupils require a recognised qualification in English for entry to a UK university and can struggle to attain a C in GCSE English. Mrs Wallace has therefore introduced a course leading to an IGCSE qualification in English as a Second Language. Attainment at Grade C or higher at this examination is recognised for most courses at British universities. Some pupils may also need to sit the IELTS examination and Mrs Wallace can prepare them for this exam as well. To best meet the needs of all learners, we have now begun to prepare some pupils for Cambridge KET and PET exams.

EAL lessons incur an additional charge, which vary depending on the number of pupils in each class. The charges are added to the termly bill. Further information is available for the College Bursar, John Ralfs.

Enhanced Pastoral Care for EAL Pupils

Students who reside outside the UK or a long distance from Shiplake tend to be assigned to Burr House which has the highest proportion of full (as opposed to weekly or flexi) boarders. Housemasters and boarding staff pay particular attention to the additional or differing needs of long-distance boarders, providing, wherever possible, the help and support required.

These include:

  • Travel issues
  • Passport, banking and visa issues
  • Cultural issues including induction into practices which are taken for granted by students who have grown up in Britain, such as which way to look when crossing a road.
  • Dietary needs and preferences (the Catering Department are responsive to requests; and provide themed international menus three or four times each term)
  • Ensuring communication with guardians and including guardians in school activities
  • Ensuring communication with educational agencies (such as Gabbitas and Sutherland) where they have a responsibility for a student
  • Providing effective communication between the College and  parents, having regard to time differences and postal transit times - especially through email
  • Enabling easy communication between students and their families
  • Providing sources of advice on Higher Education in other countries (usually through the Careers Department)
Further information on the admissions process for international students can be found here