English as an Additional Language (EAL): Durham School: independent day and boarding school in the North East of England for boys and girls
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English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Improve and develop your English language proficiency in a supportive environment.

Head of Department: Mrs C Piñán

Teaching Staff: Mrs L Pollard


It is important to establish before a child joins us from another country that his/her command of English is good enough to be able to cope with the challenge of attending a UK boarding school where all lessons are delivered in English. Where there are gaps in learning, the English as an Additional Language department is here to help.

All new pupils from overseas for whom English is not their first language are assessed by the English as an Additional Language department, so that we can identify the degree of help each pupil needs, if any. All international pupils will need support in English at least until they have reached a level 6.0 in an internationally recognised English language qualification, also known as the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

In addition to helping pupils progress through the various levels of language proficiency, the English as an Additional Language department is ready to help with any general aspects of life in Durham School, and more widely in Britain. The department aims to provide a framework in which pupils can learn about Britain without disregarding their original cultures. It will offer security in a new environment with advice and guidance on Durham School expectations as well as British customs and traditions.

In summary the EAL department has three goals:

  1. To give pupils intensive English language support
  2. To help pupils adjust to life in England
  3. To celebrate pupils' home cultures


Durham School has helped me through every step since the beginning of school to the start of university and beyond. It has given me every opportunity to develop myself for the world outside.

Patrick Lai, OD 1993-1998

Since the very first day at Durham School I have felt welcomed and loved. I've never felt so at home despite being thousands of miles away from my family. The supportive and friendly environment made the transition so much easier. 

Didara Malgarayeva, Year 12
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