Four pupils from Ross High School, North Berwick High School and Musselburgh Grammar School have received excellent results in the recent Higher examinations. They were the first in East Lothian to take the new SQA qualification for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and all four were awarded with an “A” grade.
It has long been recognised that the traditional Higher English examination makes unrealistic demands on pupils, who have only been working in English for several years. However it is important that they continue to extend their language skills, especially if they wish to go on to further education. Numbers taking the new qualification, which has been developed over a number of years, are increasing and all Scottish universities now accept Higher ESOL for general entry to undergraduate courses.
All candidates agreed that the two modules “Everyday Communication”(double) and “English for Study Purposes”(single) helped them focus on their English giving them the opportunity to learn new skills such as delivering presentations, writing reports, note taking etc. There was a knock on effect on other subjects as well.
ESOL was not delivered as a discreet course. Pupils benefited from attending mainstream English classes but also followed a programme of self study, meeting the EAL teacher once or twice a week. Whenever possible the eight NABs were delivered as part of the existing class programme.
Although this is an alternative qualification it is of an equally high standard and the SQA is in the process of bench marking it to the European Framework for Languages.