Skip to main content

CORE Education Trust has always been proud to welcome students from a diverse range of backgrounds, including those speaking English as an Additional Language (EAL). We are passionate about embracing multilingualism as a valuable learning tool and celebrate the many languages and cultures of our families. Creating a safe and caring environment is integral to developing a sense of belonging for our students and ensuring they thrive academically, socially and emotionally.

The DFE defines English as an Additional Language as follows:

‘A pupil’s first language is defined as any language other than English that a child was exposed to during early development and continues to be exposed to in the home or community. If a child was exposed to more than one language (which may include English) during early development, a language other than English should be recorded, irrespective of the child’s proficiency in English.’

OFSTED define English as an Additional Language as follows:

‘English as an additional language (EAL) refers to learners whose first language is not English.

These definitions therefore cover the following:

  • Pupils arriving from other countries and whose first language is not English
  • Pupils who have lived in the UK for a long time and may appear to be fluent, but who also speak another language at home. These pupils are often not entirely fluent in terms of their literacy levels.
  • Pupils who have been born in the UK, but for whom the home language is not English (e.g. Bengali children who are born in the UK, but arrive at school with very little English due to having spoken only Bengali at home and within the community)
  • Pupils who have a parent who speaks a language other than English and the child communicates within that language (ie. bilingual children)’

Using these criteria, in the Academic Year 23/24 50% of our pupils can be identified as having English as an Additional Language, with over 55 languages spoken.

CORE Hello

As a response to the growing number of students needing additional support with English proficiency, CORE Hello was created.

Our Mission

CORE Hello is committed to providing a safe and secure learning environment, where every student can thrive academically, socially and emotionally. We develop a sense of belonging and celebrate the uniqueness of every language, culture and background, ensuring our children feel valued and driven to succeed in school and beyond.

CORE Hello

CORE Hello is a high quality, intensive intervention, designed to boost language acquisition, help students access the curriculum and thrive when they return to their ‘home’ schools. Led by specialist teachers, the programme supports up to 30 children, who are struggling with language acquisition, in 12-week blocks. Informed by best practice and research, students follow bespoke programmes, depending on their level and experience of English.

Using The Bell Foundation’s Five Principles to Guide EAL Pedagogy and the English National Curriculum, CORE Hello has designed a stimulating programme of learning to support acquisition in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Bilingual dictionaries, Google Translate and electronic interpreting devices are used to support student’s learning, with use of their first language encouraged to help them explore, develop and share ideas with peers and teachers.

Discrete Literacy and English is taught every day, with a focus on spelling, punctuation, grammar and the exploration of a range of texts and authors. Maths features daily and science, humanities, the arts, PE and PSHE are delivered weekly. This integrated approach to language teaching ensures that the teaching and learning is impactful and that students are cognitively challenged and stimulated. Assessment is conducted using the Bell’s Framework Assessment Tool – a widely recognised tool for assessment amongst the EAL community.

As well as a rich academic programme, CORE Hello provides plenty of opportunity for students to continue their learning and social integration outside of the school walls. Visits are arranged to the local library, an orienteering tour is conducted around the city, theatre trips are regular, as are outings to local museums and art galleries.

Since its conception, over 150 students have joined CORE Hello, from over 30 different countries. They spoke over 25 different languages. All now speak English!

If you would like to find out more, please email Emily Preece (Director of CORE Hello) at [email protected]

Mouhamed, 14, Year 10

Mouhamed came from Italy to live in Birmingham with his family at the start of secondary school. Though he had learned a little English at school in Italy, he struggled to keep up with the pace in lessons and lacked confidence in his spoken English. Mouhamed joined CORE Hello at Easter of year 7.

Because of his underlying knowledge of English, Mouhamed made quick progress and was able to return to Arena Academy after just eight weeks.

“I had basic English, that we had been taught in school, so I knew words and some phrases. But this was not enough to keep up in class and I felt I was getting behind. It was not the subjects I found hard – for example, in maths, when it was just numbers, I was fine. But the teacher’s explanations in other lessons were just too fast, and the written material too complicated for me to properly understand.”

Mouhamed, 14, Year 10

“CORE Hello was really helpful, the teachers broke everything down into small sections, so I could understand it. They went at my speed and did not move on to the next thing until I was really ready. I caught up quickly and I also found it much easier to communicate with other people.”

Mouhamed, 14, Year 10

“CORE Hello was life changing. I feel completely at ease with English now, I can understand everything and I have no issues at school or with my friends. I can enjoy clubs, like the CCF, and I am looking forward to the future – when I hope to study business and data.”

Mouhamed, 14, Year 10

Tanveer, aged 15, year 11

Tanveer came to Birmingham with his parents and younger sister in November 2022. He had never been to the UK before and was extremely excited. The family settled in Birmingham and Tanveer joined Arena Academy. After the Christmas holiday, in January 2023, Tanveer went to CORE Hello. Tanveer has been back at Arena since Easter 2023.

“I was so excited to get off the plane at Heathrow and to see London for the first time. I remember we went to the Tower of London on our second day, and it was incredible.”

Tanveer, aged 15, year 11

“I was happy to start at Arena but it was quite hard because I couldn’t really speak English properly. People tried to help me but I found lessons difficult and I couldn’t understand my teachers. I was a bit sad too, because it wasn’t easy for me to make friends then.”

Tanveer, aged 15, year 11

“CORE Hello was really brilliant. The teachers helped me learn English, so I could keep up in class and understand my homework. As well as listening, they also taught me how to communicate – I became more confident in speaking English, which meant I could make friends.”

Tanveer, aged 15, year 11

“It was still a little hard when I got back from CORE Hello but my English is getting better all the time. I am happier and I am getting ready for my GCSEs. I want to go to college and be an Electrical Engineer when I am older. Now, I try to help other students at CORE Hello to settle in at Arena and their life in Birmingham.”

Tanveer, aged 15, year 11


CORE schools are optimistic, ambitious and act with oneness and the CORE Hello programme completely epitomises the values of the trust: collaboration, opportunity, respect and excellence. As a trust, we cherish the richness of difference and are committed to ensuring that all children can thrive in our schools and local communities.