Young Interpreter Scheme®

The Young Interpreter Scheme® (YIS) provides additional support to pupils who are learning English as an Additional Language (EAL), to their families and to schools

About the scheme

Young interpreters on hand to help new pupils – video will play on ITV Meridian website

Young Interpreters video

The Young Interpreter Scheme® recognises the huge potential that exists within each school community for pupils of all ages to use their skills and knowledge to support new learners of English so that they feel safe, settled and valued from the start.

Young Interpreters undergo specific training to prepare for this role and are selected on the basis of different personal qualities they may have. The support they can offer to a newly-arrived pupil can be very reassuring from a parent or carer’s point of view at a time when their child may be adapting to substantial changes. It also supports school staff in a variety of ways at different points during the school day.

The Young Interpreter Scheme® is the Overall and grassroots excellence winner of the Guardian awards 2013

How to train Young Interpreters at my school

Hampshire EMTAS has published guidance on setting up and running the Young Interpreter Scheme®. Schools access the Young Interpreter Scheme® guidance through Moodle. Moodle is an exclusive and interactive virtual platform where e-learning modules, advice and materials provide practitioners with the tools to successfully train pupils and implement the scheme in their school. The Primary Moodle area offers training materials to use with pupils at Key Stages 1 and 2 while the Secondary Moodle area offers access to materials which can be used with pupils at Key Stages 3 and 4. Please visit Moodle for a free taster. A half-termly newsletter Twitter and Facebook Young Interpreter pages showcase regular sources of inspiration along with the latest news and events relating to the scheme.

Who the scheme is for

Making the scheme available to both bilingual and monolingual learners is very powerful in developing empathy amongst English speakers towards some of the challenges and difficulties that pupils new to English may be facing. There is guidance on Moodle to support Young Interpreter coordinators when inviting pupils to participate.

Is this scheme right for my school

The Young Interpreter Scheme® can be used in a variety of settings – either where a number of pupils share the same language, or where there are isolated EAL learners. Details of engaging activities to keep Young Interpreters motivated about their role in times when there are fewer new arrivals can be found on Moodle.

The role of Young Interpreters

Bilingual pupils use their language skills in a variety of ways to help new arrivals access English and feel part of the school. Alongside English-only speakers, they learn different strategies to clarify, explain and ‘interpret’ a whole range of school activities, systems and procedures to new entrants through the medium of pupil–friendly English where first language isn’t shared by other pupils or adults.

Young Interpreters do not replace the need for professional adult interpreters. Exhaustive guidance on the role of Young Interpreters and situations where it is most appropriate to involve them can be found in the Young Interpreter Scheme Guidance. Young Interpreters are trained and guided by a designated member of the school staff who can ensure pupils’ safeguarding.

Read more about how to use children and young people as interpreters at school.

Children and young people feedback
"We are extremely proud to be part of this excellent scheme!"

International Community School, Amman, Jordan

"I get a great sense of achievement when I see the students I have supported do well in their lessons."

Jake, William Howard School, Cumbria

"I got picked because I have lots of different qualities: I like to help people and I work quite hard in all my lessons."

Chloe, Fairfields Primary School, Hampshire.

Ofsted feedback
"Those pupils who act as 'Young Interpreters' make an outstanding contribution to enabling those pupils speaking little English and their parents or carers, take a full part in all school activities."

Ofsted, November 2010, King’s Furlong Infant School and Nursery, Hampshire

"Inspectors saw some excellent examples of student leadership, including the Young Interpreter group, who give very good support to those students who are learning English as an additional language."

Ofsted, March 2013, Aldworth School, Hampshire.

"The Young Interpreter scheme is another excellent example of practice that supports and develops children and young people’s confidence and leadership skills within schools"

Ofsted, April 2014, Hampshire County Council.

Register your school to the Young Interpreter Scheme®

Visit the EMTAS shop for details of how to register for the Young Interpreter Scheme®.