17 May 2023
Primary and secondary students will receive multilingual books and revision guides to mark one year of the Language Policy for Jersey Education.
The Language Policy for Jersey Education was launched in 2022 to improve support for the 27% of all school pupils who are multilingual learners (MLL): children and young people who have English as an additional language.
Investment in the new Multilingual Advisory service means that schools have more support in teaching and measuring progress in English, alongside developing ways of increasing proficiency in pupil's home language.
The Language Policy is part of a broader Education Reform Programme, which was introduced following the Independent School Funding review in 2020. The Review found that more funding was needed to support children who have English as an additional language.
In the year since the policy was launched:
- nearly all schools will have attended 'Multilingualism in Education' training to help them understand the challenges facing MLL students by end of 2023
- a central MLL Advisory team has been set up to provide coaching and further training for school staff
- 31 MLL leads have been appointed across state-funded primary and secondary schools, and have delivered a new curriculum for children and young people who are new to English
- more MLL/English as an Additional Language (EAL) keyworkers have been recruited to support children and young people
- more than 1,000 multilingual books have been purchased for school libraries
- the MLL Service partnered with the Jèrriais and French Experience teams to promote all aspects of linguistic and language learning
Individual schools have also made use of the MLL funding to provide more support and development for their school communities. For example, Plat Douet School has become an accredited Language Friendly school in recognition of the work it does to promote students' home language.
Haute Vallée School has incorporated Portuguese into its curriculum and in partnership with the charity 'Every Child Our Future' (ECOF), students of Portuguese at Haute Vallée School will read Portuguese language books to students at Janvrin School to help them develop their home language skills.
In the next year, the team will focus on early years and post-school language capacity. The team will collaborate with the Government's Inclusion Team, Speech and Language Therapists and Island-wide Early Years Practitioners to improve communication with parents and carers. The team will also work with Highlands College and higher education providers – including the University of Caen – to offer more opportunities for Islanders to develop their language skills.
In October, the team will also host a British Irish Council meeting and a conference on Indigenous and Minority languages. These events will raise the profile of Jèrriais within a national and international context, highlight the successes of the policy so far, and also provide more opportunities for professional development.
Languages Adviser Samantha Losh said: "All of us involved in the Language Policy for Jersey Education have been thrilled with the positive response from school colleagues and from children and young people.
"We have worked closely with school staff, colleagues in Children, Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES), charities and families to offer children and young people more support and opportunities."
Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Inna Gardiner: "As a speaker of multiple languages, I know first-hand the benefits this offers, both in education and in later life. However, historically, children and young people who didn't speak English as their first language have lacked tailored support and opportunities.
"Research shows us that children and young people who maintain proficiency in their home language are better-able to acquire English language skills. Better English language skills are associated with better academic outcomes for all children and young people.
"This policy is the first time we've acknowledged that speaking multiple languages is a positive thing that we – as an Island – should nurture so that all children can reach their potential."