About BeeLingual UK
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We’re Carrie Norman and Kate Woods, and we set up Norman Woods Publishing in 2013.
Carrie has over 30 years’ experience in education - now Director of Curriculum for the Brooke Weston Trust and a visiting fellow for Ambition Institute delivering NPQ training, Carrie was at that time the Principal of Peckover Primary School in Wisbech; a school with 54% of pupils, originating from many parts of Europe, having English as an additional language. This was a challenge that she tackled with great enthusiasm and creativity!
Our first step was to re-write the curriculum completely, ensuring children were exposed to high quality texts and a wide range of vocabulary. Our classroom environments immersed children in their learning and our mantra was ‘talk, talk and more talk’. We planned structured oral opportunities into all our lessons, using the excellent ‘Tower Hamlets, ‘progression in Language structures; we had continuous provision from Nursery through to year 2 centred on language rich environments and opportunities.
However, we discovered that once our pupils had acquired enough English to let them read, write and converse fluently, the progress of some began to plateau. These could be pupils who weren’t speaking their first language much at home, or reading books in it. In some cases, pupils were starting to lose their first language altogether, making it harder to build and develop their English.
We sent a set of BeeLingual UK dual-language books home with every EAL child, so they could read stories in their first language and in English with their parents
We used our bilingual Teaching Assistants to lead daily first language discussion groups to develop a rich and challenging vocabulary
We used colourful discussion mats to pre-teach pupils in first language and English, deploying them alongside stems based on Progression in Language Structures
Our pastoral team used first language emotion cards to help pupils describe and explain their feelings
We introduced a ‘no hands up’ policy to promote lively class discussion
We taught the whole schools songs in first languages and English
Using the resources we were developing at BeeLingual UK, we introduced a whole raft of strategies to cultivate a rich vocabulary in first language and subsequently in English.
We designed these materials for use in the classroom, but have also made them available through BeeLingual UK so that everyone can use them.
I have loved working in a school with many different cultures and think the vibrancy that diversity brings makes it a truly special place. I am still in awe of the bilingual TA's and EAL pupils sharing quality books in first language and English, switching effortlessly from one language to the other!
Kate has enjoyed working in design and marketing for over 20 years.
After some interesting discussions with Carrie about the lack of resources for EAL children, her creative instinct and can-do attitude kicked in, leading to the setting up of Norman Woods Publishing 10 years ago.
Kate’s really enjoyed using her skill set to develop the company’s range of titles, and running new ideas past her own school age daughters.
Kate is also a director of two other companies, each of which provides design and print services for different specialist industries, but she finds children’s books particularly satisfying to work on.
“Meeting children who’ve been using our books has really inspired me! They’ve told us how the books have made them feel at home, and welcome in their new school environment, and that’s been lovely to hear"
Carrie and I spoke to dozens of children about their lives, their pastimes and their family life in their home countries, and we’ve done our best to use those insights when putting our titles together. It’s so important that they continue to cherish their first language and their own culture
Lucy is an experienced and qualified teacher, specialising in Early Years. She has taught for over thirty years - from Tower Hamlets borough in London, to way up north in the Shetland Islands and latterly in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk schools.
Throughout her career she has supported and helped children develop English as an additional language, and now feels very lucky to be part of a team producing high quality dual language books for children.