• Calder Walk, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV31 1SA

 E.A.L Quality Mark


In May 2022, we were very proud to be awarded the Gold E.A.L. Quality Mark for the second time (the first time was in November 2018). We were evaluated on our school's ability to give all learners the opportunity for rapid and sustained improvement and to deliver an inclusive curriculum which promotes language development alongside learning.  Our school was examined across three key areas: leadership and management; teaching, learning and assessment; and working with parents and the community.

Our assessor, Graham Smith from the EAL Academy, wrote to school after his visit:

Dear Mrs Westwood and Ms Knight,

Thank you for a wonderful visit. People who know me well say that I am often reserved and certainly do not gush. However, your school is genuinely inspiring. The attached blog cannot possibly do justice to everything I saw. 

This is what Graham wrote in his blog:

The best place to start explaining what is so special about Sydenham is the front door. Walk through it and behind the desk is a UK born Panjabi speaker who welcomes everyone and talks in Panjabi to the 25% of parents whose home language it is. You walk out of the front office into the hall. Immediately on your left is writing by pupils in Panjabi and Hungarian. The tone is set. This is a multilingual school that is very proud of its diversity. The celebration of what its pupils can do is ubiquitous.

Sydenham is a school designed to promote empathy and to place talk at the heart of learning.

A parent told me that she was “amazed by the kindness and thoughtfulness of the children.” A Russian boy is looking after a Ukrainian new arrival because that is the Sydenham culture. The picture below is a of a book made by two very grateful Polish parents and shown to me by a long serving governor who emphasised the school’s capacity to thrive in a context of constant demographic change.

In every classroom I saw pupils having purposeful conversations in small groups or pairs, both as a key part of the learning process and in preparation for writing. They have been taught to use talk effectively for learning. Vocabulary development is explicit in displays and teaching. It is implicit in structured classroom talk activities and the always considerate social interactions you see around the school.

Do visit this school, if you can. The supportive local Warwickshire Ethnic Minority & Traveller Achievement Service rightly recommends it as an example of outstanding practice. Sydenham is the second school to seek Gold EAL Quality Mark reaccreditation successfully and one of the happiest schools I have ever seen.

The last words need to go to parents and pupils: the Turkish parents who are delighted that their young daughter can now correct their English (which was pretty good in the first place) and the pupils who told me that their school is a place where “you always find friends” and “teachers want to hear your opinion.”


Please click on the link below to read the full blog:


Our previous assessor in 2018, Sara McLaughlin, said:

Dear staff and pupils at Sydenham Primary School,
Thank you very much for my visit to your school yesterday. I was very impressed by the way your school supports and challenges all pupils coming to the school with English as an additional language. The data you provided show that the children with EAL are successful and confident learners. The school is clearly a beacon of good practice in the area.
This was a very well organised visit. I saw some excellent practice which is so obviously embedded in everyone's work. The Gold award is only given where the school can demonstrate that supporting pupils with EAL is part of a successful whole school culture of teaching and learning, leadership and working with parents.

UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 30: Children from Minority and Indigenous Groups 

Every child has the right to learn and use the language, customs and religion of their family, whether or not these are shared by the majority of people in the country where they live. 


Reading with Your Bi-lingual Child


French from Sydenham Primary School on Vimeo.

Reading with Your Bi-lingual Child

  • Find a quiet place and time to share a book with your child
  • Take time to look together at the words and pictures in a story.
  • Use your hands and face as well as your voice – your child will love to see you smiling.
  • Use animal sounds like woof, growl and hoot – this will really help to bring the story to life.
  • Stories and rhymes can be shared with the whole family so why not invite siblings or other family members to join in?
  • Don’t be shy, relax and enjoy – if you are having fun so will your child.
  • Ask your class teacher which books they are reading in the classroom and read the story at home in your home language.Your child will be able to learn the English vocabulary they hear in the stories more quickly if they can make links with words in their other languages.
  • Read books in your language. One free site is http://en.childrenslibrary.org/. You can get dual language books in your home language and English to help develop your child’s bilingual skills. Ask in school about dual language books.
  • Tell your child stories in your home language.
  • Listen to audio books or story CDs together.Borrow books and audio books from the library.
  • Look at ebooks together. http://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/reading-owl/find-a-book/library-page/
  • Sing nursery rhymes and songs together: Listen to nursery rhymes in all of your languages: http://www.mamalisa.com/
  • Here are some top tips in your languages:

At the top and below are two of our parents sharing books with their children and using their home languages to help their children understand what they are reading:

Polish from Sydenham Primary School on Vimeo.