Loquela exists to meet the educational needs of secondary school students who have insufficient English language skills to access the mainstream curriculum. It teaches the language entry skills necessary for independent access to the curriculum as well as introducing values and expectations of citizens within a British tradition and culture. Due to the immersive nature of the unit, students are taught English, Mathematics, Science, ICT, History, Geography and PE within the unit. They also engage in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme. When students have sufficient readiness they are integrated into the mainstream through consultation with the student, the Loquela teachers, the Heads of Departments and the classrooms teachers.
In order to flourish and reach potential in British schools, students require an understanding and ability to manipulate both written and spoken English. Many of the Loquela students have limited literacy skills in their mother tongue which studies makes acquisition of English literacy more difficult. Loquela will make available opportunities for consistent familiarisation with English and challenge all students in order to progress their fluency across writing, reading, speaking and listening. English will be the language of instruction in all subjects.
Many of the students in Loquela have had interrupted schooling or, in extreme cases, no formal schooling. Thus, they require grounding in numerical operations and Maths reasoning. For some students, Maths offers areas where they can display their academic strengths without too much pressure for advanced language skills. Students need to understand the language of Maths and access support when they need it. Students will advance to their mainstream year level on individual or small group programs.
Students need to have an understanding of the nature of science and the scientific method be able to evaluate, critique and respond to data. The language and form of scientific enquiry will be explicitly taught in order for students to gain a greater understanding of the world as well. They will also engage in research based enquiry.
Computer skills are essential for functioning in many vocational fields and our students will be equipped with a working knowledge of operations in computing. Starting from basic computer literacy, students will gain an understanding of functions of a range of computer software. Older/more able students will engage in coding projects.
Few of the students are familiar with the geography or history of Britain. Most of the students have less than a perfunctory understanding of world events. In order to gain an understanding of Britain, its values, traditions, culture, and place in the world, students will be taught the history and geography through a series of topics which cover both the past and the present. There will be a strong emphasis on investigation and research methods. This area will also be the focus of immersion in British culture through excursions. These excursions will also form the basis of cross curricula study.
The male students have a background in activity and competitive sports, whereas the female students are generally sedentary and culturally disengaged from any forms of physical activity. For these reasons, the class will be separated along gender lines and be games and skills based. Students will be given instruction on diet, healthy living, decision making and social interaction.
Duke of Edinburgh
All students will be involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme. Through this scheme the students will learn practical life skills as well as leisure skills. Most students will be expected to enrol in the formal scheme when they reach Year 9.
Other areas of curricula such as Creative Arts and Industrial Technology will be incorporated into the curriculum of other subjects where possible. Students in the two senior classes participate in the library reading scheme.
Structure of Loquela
Loquela is loosely streamed for English proficiency and Maths proficiency, although there is some account for age cohort. There are four classes with new arrivals assessed as new to English and placed in the lowest class where staff to student ratios are highest. Students are combined into three classes’ topic and D of E.
Loquela is open to EAL students whose English Language skills make their successful placement into mainstream classes problematic. The following diagram represents the access of students into the unit.
All students will undergo initial assessment for English language skills using NASSEA assessments. This assessment tool (currently the ESL Scales) will serve to place the student on a continuum of English language acquisition and inform their placement in class and program. The NASSEA assessments will be administered six monthly as an objective, quantitative measure of progress. As well the ESL Scales will serve as a qualitative assessment of progress in the areas of Oral Interaction, Reading and Responding, and Writing each six month.
All other subjects will have formative as well as summative assessments. These assessments will be both quantitative and qualitative and be individualised due to the varied educational background, age, and educational needs of the students. Progress will be recorded on the students’ passports.
Daily assessment of homework and class work will take place to inform the students of their progress and to allow them to reflect upon their own learning. While reflections will be limited due to language barriers, students will be encouraged to have greater and greater insight into their own learning so that they are prepared for this when they enter the mainstream. Initially, students will demonstrate their understanding of the feedback. Teachers will note in the student’s book when these discussions have taken place.
Assessment for school readiness
In the normal course of schooling, the Loquela students will gain sufficient English language skills to allow them to integrate into the mainstream. Where
possible, students will be age retained so that they can enter the mainstream with little disruption to their learning. Hereunder is a flow diagram for the exit of students from Loquela.
Due to the disturbed educational background of some of the students, their readiness to engage in mainstream school is compromised. These students may also have mental health and behavioural difficulties. They may need to be retained within Loquela until their difficulties are addressed or stabilise. In the meantime, their education should mirror the mainstream as much as possible.
Other students enter Loquela so near to their sixteenth birthday that it is unrealistic to expect them to be sufficiently fluent to attempt their GCSEs. These students will be encouraged to integrate for ESOL classes and continue their education in a college setting.