“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 to be a Young Interpreter because I have lots of different qualities. Some of my qualities are that I like to help people and I work quite hard in all my lessons.” Chloe, Fairfields Primary School, Hampshire
“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, Kings Furlong Infant School and Nursery, Hampshire
The Hampshire Young Interpreter Scheme aims to provide additional support to pupils who are learning English as an Additional Language (EAL), their families and to schools. The 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.
The Young Interpreter scheme adds to buddy systems already in place in many schools and is a means of providing more extensive peer support. Young Interpreters undergo specific training to prepare for this role and are selected on the basis of different personal qualities they may have.
Hampshire EMTAS has developed a pack which includes three sets of training materials to use with pupils at Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and Key Stages 3 and 4, a DVD, access to a Moodle account and a half-termly newsletter. Pupil participants are drawn from both bilingual and monolingual backgrounds, and there is guidance within the pack on ways to select pupils for the scheme.
Thanks to their training and their role, bilingual pupils learn how to use their language skills in a variety of ways to help a new arrival to access English and feel part of the school as quickly as possible. Alongside English only speakers, they will learn different strategies to clarify, explain and ‘interpret’ a whole range of school activities, systems and procedures to new entrants through the medium of child–friendly English where first language isn’t shared by other pupils or adults.
The Hampshire Young Interpreter Scheme can therefore be used in a variety of settings – either where a number of pupils share the same language, or where there are isolated EAL learners. Making the scheme available to both bilingual and monolingual learners can be very powerful in developing empathy amongst English speakers towards some of the challenges and difficulties that pupils new to English may be facing. A further benefit is that this additional support 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 in the school day.
An essential aspect of the Young Interpreters’ training at all Key Stages is a session in an unknown language which helps pupils develop understanding of the challenges faced by newly arrived students. This session also raises a discussion about the effective strategies, qualities and behaviours which help support pupils new to English. This session can be delivered by a bilingual adult. Alternatively, the DVD accompanying the guidance pack provides examples of sessions in unknown languages.
Student interpreters can be used to:
Please contact us for further details on how you can set up the scheme in your school.
Young Interpreters now have their very own Moodle. Practitioners can access forums, interactive advice and guidance along with the latest news and events relating to the scheme. For more details, please visit and log on as a guest.
View an interview about being a professional interpreter - one of the videos in the pack.