English as an Additional Language

At Blackheath High School, an independent school, we have a long history of educating a rich social and cultural blend of students, thus reflecting the cosmopolitan character of London itself.

IMG_1707We welcome bright and engaging students, eager to benefit from the broad education we provide and are proud of the mix of socio-economic backgrounds within our student population. The multi-cultural community here means that children gain a rich learning experience through their exposure to other cultures, languages and customs. This is a school where individuality is cherished and there is a culture of open-mindedness and harmony. Our community is diverse, inclusive and dynamic, and we pride ourselves on having a strong sense of community, created by building strong links between the staff and pupils’ families.                       

Admission for students relocating from overseas to Blackheath High is not uncommon, as we are located close to London and Canary Wharf international businesses. We strive to ensure that the transition to the UK is as smooth as possible. Our Kathryn WangHeadteacher, Mrs Chandler-Thompson, is committed to working closely with all families, to ensure we provide the best education possible for every child. The school has links with relocation agents and the Admissions Manager works closely with families relocating from abroad. The staff at Blackheath High are experienced at working with children who have moved to the UK, so have a very good understanding of the emotional and educational needs associated with this transition.

At Blackheath High we encourage you to put your child’s name on the registration list as soon as possible (click here for Admissions information). For further enquiries regarding admissions or more information about our provision for students for whom English is an additional language, please email c.pheiffer@bla.gdst.net and we will be pleased to provide you with any information required.

For general enquiries regarding admissions, please email our Admissions Secretary: f.nichols@bla.gdst.net - we will be pleased to provide you with any information required.

Understanding the English school system and Independent Schools

It can be confusing for parents to understand how the English school system works and to choose the right school for their child, especially if they are relocating to the UK and having to consider school choices. To help you understand our English school system, please read our ‘Understanding the English School System’ guide and our 'Independent Schools' guide.

The National Curriculum is constructed in five Key Stages (note that each academic year run from birth dates starting 1 September, and finish with birth dates to 31 August the following year):

Key Stage 1

Foundation year and Years 1 to 2 - for pupils aged between 5 and 7 years old

Key Stage 2

Years 3 to 6 - for pupils aged between 8 and 11 years old

Key Stage 3

Years 7 to 9 - for pupils aged between 12 and 14 years old

Key Stage 4

Years 10 to 11 - for pupils aged between 15 and 16 years old

Key Stage 5

Years 12 to 13 - for pupils aged between 17 and 18 years old

Note: Primary schools are for children 5-11 years and secondary schools for 11-15 year olds. Schools who have a sixth form educate students from age 16-17 up to 18).


Meet some of our EAL students

Sofía ValdésIMG_1714

Hi, my name is Sofia, I’m 12 years old and I’m in Year 7. Before coming to Blackheath High School, I lived in Spain. I was very excited about living in London, but on the first day of school I realised that I didn’t know as much English as I thought I did! However, I started to talk more to the other  girls and I felt like I actually fitted in with them. After the Christmas holidays, everything seemed to get better and better, and I was able to understand nearly 100% of everything. I really like having a locker; I have always wanted to have one. My favourite thing about being in Blackheath High School is all the friends that I have made!” 

Ángela Valdes

Hi, my name is Ángela Valdés Báez, and I am in year 9. I used to live in Murcia (Spain), but last July my family and I moved to London. The first day at school was not easy, because I couldn't understand anything. I realised then that all the English I had learnt in Spain was useless now, I couldn't understand what people told me, and when I wanted to say something I didn't know how to say it. It was a very stressful situation at first.

By October, I started to understand more, but talking and doing my homework still took a lot of time. After the Christmas holiday everything changed; it was fantastic!  I couldn't believe it! It was as though overnight “the English Language” had been added to my brain!

Back in school, as soon as I understood what people were saying, I started focusing on how to speak. I was able to find the words I needed to express myself properly.

Blackheath High is very different from my old school. In Spain, I used to have lunch at home at 3.30, and I didn't go back to school after lunch. Here, we have a long lunch time when we can do clubs after we have eaten.

Also, there are no half term holidays in Spain. There are many differences between Spain and England, but none of them surprised me more than the number of people who think that my sister and I are twins. Are we really so similar?”


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Understanding the English School System Download
Independent Schools Download