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Information for parents and carers who have English as an additional language

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A printable version of this information leaflet for parents and carers who have English as an additional language can be found in our download section.

What rights does my child have?

The law in the UK gives children rights which parents and schools have the responsibility to maintain.

These include:

  • the right to a free school place between the ages of 5 and 16.
  • the right to be in a safe envioronment where they can learn and to be protected from harm.
  • Schools must help if they think a child is being harmed, abused or not looked after.

What does the law say about attending school?

From the age of 5, education is compulsory in the UK and your child must attend every day and on time unless they are ill.  Taking your child on holiday during term time is not allowed. If you need to take your child out of school speak to the headteacher.

Will my child be treated differently to other children?

By law schools must promote equality for everyone and encourage good relations between different groups of people, this is part of the Equality Act 2010.

The UK has also signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which says everyone under 18 has the right to:

  • Express their opinions and be listened to
  • Freedom of thought, belief and religion.
  • An education that enables children to fulfil their potential.
  • Learn and use the language, customs and religion of their family even if they are different from the country where they live.
  • Have the same rights as all other children in that country if they are refugees or seeking refuge.

How will I know what is happening in school?

Schools try to let parents know what is happening in different ways. The website is a good place to start. If you need information provided in a particular way, ask at the school office.

Will my child be taught about religion?

This will vary depending on the school, but they will have collective worship (sometimes called assembly) and Religious Education (RE) lessons. If you do not want your child take part, talk to the headteacher.

What can I do to help my child in school?

Parents and carers are welcome to get involved in school life this could be through:

  • Attending parents’ meetings or consultations.
  • Joining in celebrations, concerts, and assemblies
  • Volunteering, for example helping with activities or school visits
  • Joining the Parent Teacher Association.
  • Becoming a Governor

What should I do if my child is unhappy?

If your child is unhappy, you need to tell the staff so they can help. Contact the school office or class teacher and ask for an interpreter if required.

How can I help my child learn?

There are lots of things you can do to help your child:

  • Ask questions and talk about the topics studied in your first language.
  • Use a bilingual dictionary or a translation app.
  • Encourage them to write down any new words in English or first language to help them remember them.
  • If they do not understand something encourage them to ask the teacher to explain it again
  • Use pictures and objects to explain things.
  • Play games which include learning.
  • Use real life situations such as shopping trips.
  • Give children time and praise them.

What homework will my child get?

Most schools give children work to do at home this will be different for different ages. It is important to help and encourage your child to complete their homework.

Why do I need to share books with my child?

Reading at home is important. You can do this in your first language, talking about the pictures and what is happening in the story. The important thing is to enjoy reading together.

Will improving my English help my child?

There are many advantages to learning English as your child starts to learn it in school. It will help you to understand your child’s learning. You can also learn alongside your child and practice speaking, reading and writing English together. Improving your English will help you to communicate with staff and parents at your child’s school.

How can I improve my English?

If you want to improve your English your local college might offer classes for adults. There are also websites which will help.

  • ESOL Nexus is a free website for people living in the UK to improve English and understand more about UK life and work
  • Learn English is a free website with games, stories, listening activities and grammar exercises
  • BBC Learning English is a free website where you can practice and improve your English.