Nationwide programme launched to help UK schools overcome language barriers in the classroom

Pocketalk, the global leader in translations, is launching a nationwide programme for early learning settings, primary and secondary schools in the UK, to overcome language barriers in the classroom. 

The programme sets out to address the need to better support UK children who have English as an additional language (EAL), which includes over 1.7 million pupils in England’s maintained schools alone. 

The initiative aims to improve efficiency; while helping EAL students understand more easily, learn more quickly and interact, the initiative hopes to free up teacher time to ensure all of the classroom students’ needs are met.

Pocketalk’s AI-based direct translator facilitates real-time conversations at the touch of a button, enabling seamless communication even when there is no, or limited knowledge of, English. 

The two-way translation solution can translate over 84 languages and its intuitive design and secure GDPR-compliant features are already revolutionising communication in schools globally and empowering learners, educators, and parents to connect across linguistic boundaries.

Pocketalk is inviting schools to nominate their setting for the opportunity to try up to 10 Pocketalk devices in school, free of charge. By sharing their experiences, pilot schools will contribute to making change and building a more inclusive educational community. 

The programme is part of Pocketalk’s All Spoken Here campaign, furthering its mission of bridging communication, overcoming language barriers and fostering mutual understanding and relationships  in schools and other industries.  

With an estimated 300 languages already spoken in UK schools, bridging this gap is essential for fostering inclusivity and successful educational environments for the students and their families settling into their new communities.

Jess O’Dwyer, general manager UK at Pocketalk, commented:  “In the US, Pocketalk has helped over 500 school districts leading to reduced translation costs, better efficiency and removing pressure on the teaching staff. 

“There is also a strong case for enhanced language learning for children with EAL. Research by Save the Children found that children who are taught in their own language learn better which is vital, particularly in those early years. Launching the UK school partner programme means we can be part of the solution and do our bit to help.”

In the UK, Pocketalk recently helped Aston Clinton Primary School in Buckinghamshire revolutionise learning for a young Bulgarian pupil who spoke no English. The school used Pocketalk to communicate with the pupil in her native language and she went from attending school for just an hour a day to staying all day.

Aston Clinton Primary School educates around 400 students aged between four and 11 years old with around 5% EAL students and some do not speak or understand any English at all.

Melissa Garraway, a SENCO lead at the school says: “Using the Pocketalk device meant we could understand what was causing upset for the child and it transpired that she thought she was being left. That she wouldn’t see her parents again. 

“Without Pocketalk we would never have been able to understand that and help her. I don’t think she would’ve stayed in the school without the support of this technology. It has been invaluable. Since using the Pocketalk, the little girl has thrived and in just a few weeks she was able to sound out her first word in English – ‘cat’.”

Schools and early learning settings are invited to apply to the UK school partnership programme, explaining why they think they should become a Pocketalk partner school. 

Application is online at UK school partner programme, with the deadline 5pm, 12 July 2024.

Key Features of Pocketalk:

  • Translation in over 84 languages with unparalleled quality.
  • Intuitive application and compact design for easy use.
  • GDPR-compliant and multiple award-winning.
  • Proven success in schools in the UK, USA and other parts of Europe.
  • Optimised for educational use, minimising distractions and safeguarding issues  from smartphones.
  • Camera function supports written work

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