Guidance on the use of EMTAS Assistants and support for more advanced learners in schools

Bilingual Assistants and first language support

Not all pupils for whom English is an additional language will require bilingual support. Some may have been born in the UK and have lived here all their lives but speak or have access to another language at home.

Others may have come to live in the UK when they were very young and have had several years' education here. Often, pupils such as these have oracy skills commensurate with their monolingual, English-only peers and do not need bilingual support in order to access the curriculum.

EMTAS Bilingual Assistants are best deployed to support pupils who are in the early stages of acquiring English and families who need first language support e.g. at parents' evenings or other important meetings.

Some newly-arrived pupils will have had access to English medium education in country of origin: these pupils should be referred as New Arrivals and will be profiled by EMTAS staff but may not need bilingual support to access the curriculum in their new UK classroom. There may still be a need for other forms of support for this group of new arrivals, e.g. through mentoring.

Traveller Teaching Assistants

EMTAS Traveller Teaching Assistants (TTAs) are deployed to work in class under the professional direction and supervision of a qualified teacher. They can provide support to pupils who are of Gypsy, Roma or Traveller heritage, working either one-to-one with the focus pupil or working with a small group that includes the focus pupil.

If other issues have been identified, for example poor attendance, poor behaviour or difficulties engaging with families, EMTAS can support in other ways. Contact EMTAS via the Traveller phone line to discuss such issues and to access advice on supporting Traveller communities more generally.

Support for more advanced learners of English as an additional language

Schools can access training through EMTAS on meeting the needs of more advanced learners of English as an additional language. See Supporting advanced learners of English as an additional language for more information on this group of EAL learners.

For some bilingual pupils with secure first language skills, there is the option of taking a GCSE in their heritage language. Contact Jamie Earnshaw to discuss this: Note that not all languages are available at GCSE.

Where there are concerns about a pupil's progress over time, schools should use the EMTAS EAL/SEN phone line in the first instance to discuss concerns and get advice.