The Young Interpreter Scheme® provides additional support to pupils who are learning English as an Additional Language (EAL), to their families and to schools. It 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.
Hampshire EMTAS has published the Young Interpreter Scheme Guidance pack. The Primary pack includes training materials to use with pupils at Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2 while the Secondary pack can be used with pupils at Key Stages 3 and 4. The pack includes all the materials you need to train your Young Interpreters together with a DVD, access to a Moodle account, half-termly newsletter, Twitter and Facebook Young Interpreter pages.
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. There is guidance in the pack to support Young Interpreter coordinators when inviting pupils to participate.
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 in the Young Interpreter Scheme Guidance.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.