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Areas of Excellence; Delivering Outstanding EAL Outcomes at Lipson Co-operative Academy

Lipson Co-operative Academy is composed of a wide and diverse range of ethnicities with over thirty different languages spoken; making us unique within a predominantly white, working class, coastal city in the South-West.

As a school we pride ourselves on our response to individual need and ensure all students are in a position to progress and thus fulfil their potential.  A real area of strength in this regard, is our provision for students with English as an Additional Language and this is clearly demonstrated in the outcomes we achieve.


Welcoming New Students

Upon arrival, all EAL students have a bespoke package to welcome them to the Academy; an individual tour of the school and a personal introduction to each of their new teachers.  Each student receives training on a host of new technologies from the EAL Co-ordinator and a variety of “apps” are downloaded onto their phones to assist them with their day-to-day interactions around the school.  In addition, those who have very little English when they arrive have one to one support to ensure their English skills grow and develop to meet the challenges of our mastery curriculum.  Whereas for the more advanced English language learner, we endeavour to support their proficiency and literacy in their first language and where appropriate enter them for GCSE or A Level qualifications.  We also support over thirteen schools in the South-West both state and independent with first language oral exams in Polish.

Developing Teaching Excellence

As a school we achieved outstanding outcomes for our EAL students in 2016-17 and this is largely due to the outstanding teaching and pastoral support they received.  We invest considerable time ensuring that our class planning and differentiation fully meets the individual needs of EAL students and deploy a variety of teaching strategies to ensure they are able to not only access the curriculum but with thrive in their studies.

The majority of EAL support, centres around creating a visual map which students can follow accompanied by a host of translation devices which allow them to build up key word banks in each of their subjects as well as growing the high-frequency words which they use regularly on a day-to-day basis.

The EAL team work with individual faculties to create banks of resources which are uploaded onto Google Drive so that students have access to a host of support at home as well as in school.  They are able to access these on their mobile phones as well as a variety of other portable devices.  Our approach to “Flipped Learning” has proved very successful and students say they enjoy the autonomy of engaging in pre-learning tasks through accessing short videos (embedded QAN codes in Power-Points) and websites (both in English and where possible in their first language) thus enabling them to “get ahead of the game” in their lessons.

Equally, our deployment of “Co-operative Learning” strategies (our dominant pedagogy) are implemented consistently and ensure that, in every lesson, students work in carefully structured groups with each student taking a specific role based on Kagan structures. Students work in small groups, developing social skills through teambuilding activities. Activities are planned to provide sufficient challenge for students of all abilities to ensure that there are neither ‘hogs’ – who dominate – nor ‘logs’ – who rely on others to make the effort for them. Students expect everyone to make a useful contribution and relish the opportunity to be the ‘lead learner’ in the group. Constant dialogue with each other and the teacher means that they have the confidence to share ideas and expertise, so that when the ‘work’ begins they can use the knowledge and skills they have gained in the learning process. As a result, motivation is high, the wish to learn well is the norm and students take pride in and responsibility for their own learning.  

We are recognised for the knowledge and skill-set we have honed over the years in the field of EAL and work with a host of ITT training providers as their principle trainer as well as supporting a number of school in Plymouth and the South-West by hosting visits and leading CPD in their respective schools.


“I’m from Indonesia and I have to catch up with lots of stuff.  The booklets and videos support me every lesson.  The teachers are full of patience and listen to my problems.”

Joane Year 11