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English as an Additional Language


Our primary aim is to ensure that all of our pupils have a positive experience of their EAL lessons, whether they are timetabled or taught as a support session. We want our students to leave Whitgift with an open mind, a very positive memory of their EAL lessons and the grade they need to study at the university of their choice.

Before Arrival

Every overseas student wishing to join Whitgift School is required to sit an entrance examination. This exam is based on a combination of assessments based on the Cambridge FCE & CAE papers. For sample papers, follow the links below:

FCE (B2): http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/first/exam-format/

CAE (C1): http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/advanced/exam-format/

The expectation is that the student’s level of English is a B2/C1, based on the Common European Framework (CEFR), which is essential if he is to successfully follow the curriculum.

If you would like to find out an estimation of your level of English, follow the link to the website below:


After Arrival

Having passed the entrance exam and upon arrival, students will sit a placement test, which consists of a listening, reading, speaking, writing and a grammar module. This test determines the student’s English level and potential need for EAL lessons.

Most EAL students join Whitgift School in Year 9 or in Year 12.

Entry into Year 9

The expectation is that the student will follow the full range of subjects including the study of foreign languages (either German or Japanese for beginners) and an EAL support class. If  - after the placement test - it is deemed that no further support is necessary, then the student will be able to study both foreign languages and up to 5 options at GCSE level from Year 10 onwards. If further EAL support is required, it is recommended to take up only 4 options, one of them being EAL.

Entry into Year 12

All international students wishing to apply to a British University need to have successfully completed the IELTS exam. ( unless they have an IGCSE/GCSE level in English). The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a test that measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work in environments where English is used as a language of communication. Students at Whitgift are prepared for the Academic IELTS test. More information about the test can be found on the following website:


All our EAL students wishing to study at a British University have to attend IELTS classes which take place outside the timetable (either in the mornings before school, at lunchtimes or after school). 

Support during the School Year

After the language level of the pupils has been determined, and if they are found to need support, lessons are timetabled accordingly. Pupils are taught in small groups or on a one-to-one basis. Pupils are also supported with their other curriculum subjects so that their language difficulties do not have an impact on their academic performance.

There are regular assessments throughout the course of the academic year. Students are assessed through a number of different tasks, e.g. in the form of essays, listening and reading comprehension tasks, speaking activities or presentations, etc. The main goal of the assessments is to monitor the progress of each pupil in English and support them where necessary.



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