Aims and rationale
The main aim of the scheme is to provide focused peer support to newly arrived English as an Additional language (EAL) learners in a variety of ways - particularly through the medium of their first language. This clearly allows pupils to feel more included from a very early stage whilst also helping to support their understanding of English over time. In addition to accessing new arrivals to the language of the school, an important feature of the young interpreter scheme is to help new entrants to feel safe, secure and valued and feel a part of the school. This can be very reassuring also from a parent or carer’s point of view at a time when their child may be adapting to substantial changes. It may be difficult to know how best to support your child when you have experienced a different education system or are new to English yourself.
The Hampshire Young Interpreter Scheme includes planned involvement of parents and carers, and the contributions of young interpreters are celebrated through awards assemblies, letters and prominent displays. Parents and carers of new arrivals are provided with information about the support their child will be given, in first language via school staff with the help of a school interpreter where this is possible.
Bilingual parents may also be invited to take part in the training that is provided to pupil participants perhaps by speaking to the group about their own experiences or reading aloud in their own language so that pupils understand how it might feel for the new arrival.