Assessing language development with WellComm at Edge Grove School

Edge Grove is an independent school for boys and girls aged 3-13 years located in Watford, Hertfordshire. Kasia Baxendale, Head of EAL, explains how the school has been using GL Assessment’s WellComm toolkit to assess the language development of both EAL and non-EAL pupils.

For several years, we have been using the WellComm Early Years toolkit to screen our entire nursery cohort when they join our setting in September. This has been an invaluable tool for us to assess the language development of EAL and non-EAL pupils. It gives us a starting point to identify the pupils’ needs and enables us to group the children to develop language needs highlighted by the results.

After the screening, our EAL specialists then focus on the needs of the EAL pupils, while our nursery team focus on the non-EAL pupils – using both their own resources and those from The Big Book of Ideas. This is included in the WellComm toolkit and is extremely useful in helping our staff to design activities to challenge the pupils further or to offer more support and practice. 

Key outcomes:

  1. 1

    Assess the language development of EAL and non-EAL pupils

  2. 2

    Design activities to challenge pupils further using The Big Book of Ideas

  3. 3

    Formalise evidence of progress made by screening again at the end of the year

WellComm Primary is an excellent tool for getting an overall picture of how a pupil uses, understands, and manipulates language. It helps us design their EAL curriculum more effectively, tailoring it to each individual pupil’s needs by being able to address the areas that are the basis of age-related expectations.

Kasia Baxendale, Head of EAL, Edge Grove School, Watford

The pupils are then screened again with the WellComm toolkit towards the end of the academic year, to formalise the evidence of the progress they have made. We feel that this approach has been very successful and effective, which gives us confidence that we are being efficient and thorough and can provide our pupils with interesting tasks.

Our EAL department uses both the WellComm Early Years and WellComm Primary toolkits to screen EAL pupils who are new to English, as well as those who are multilingual and not fulfilling their potential, to further identify specific age-related needs for language development before embarking on the EAL curriculum.

In some cases, we have been able to identify language issues and delays in non-EAL pupils, too. When we administered the WellComm toolkit with the pupils in our Pre-Prep, the results drew our teachers’ attention to the need to develop the pupils’ knowledge of idioms, as well as a more advanced vocabulary for describing their feelings.

WellComm Primary is an excellent tool for getting an overall picture of how a pupil uses, understands, and manipulates language. It helps us design their EAL curriculum more effectively, tailoring it to each individual pupil’s needs by being able to address the areas that are the basis of age-related expectations.



Edge Grove School is one of our Centres of Assessment Excellence