Language is arranged into three main communication strands:

  • Oral communication: listening and speaking – skills that are essential for language development, for learning, and for relating to others
  • Written communication: reading and writing – for enjoyment, instruction, information and learning to recognise, appreciate, apply and use a variety of literary style genres and structures
  • Visual communication: viewing and presenting – to understand the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs.

At Southbank, all students are placed on a reading and writing “map of development”. The map is a life-long process showing development from scribbled to sophisticated writing and students will travel through each phase at different rates. The teacher ensures that all students are challenged and extended where necessary, depending on their level, in order to move them on to the next phase.

The many aspects of language teaching will be integrated into all areas of the curriculum. While the communication strands of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting can be observed separately, they are also interrelated and interactive. At Southbank, all teachers are considered language teachers – with a special responsibility to recognise and support each and every aspect of language development.

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

The EAL programme is designed to help students in Kindergarten to Grade 5 participate fully in the social and academic aspects of our school. The EAL teachers works closely with class teachers to support students’ oral and written communication.

Students who are new to English may receive extra support from an EAL teacher to assist their language development. The EAL teachers may also go into classrooms to support students.

Often students acquire social English quite quickly, but they can require continued support to develop their academic English. Academic language includes the specialised vocabulary and technical language encountered in units of inquiry and in informational texts.


Acquisition of more than one language enriches intellectual and personal growth and helps facilitate international understanding.

English is the language of instruction at Southbank, but we also provide the opportunity for all primary students to learn an additional language – Spanish. Students whose first language is Spanish are taught in a separate mother tongue Spanish class.

At Southbank, students learn Spanish in a supportive and engaging environment. They are encouraged to listen and speak as much as possible. They develop confidence as they learn through games, songs and activities designed to capitalise on their natural open-mindedness. The reading and writing of Spanish is introduced gradually as students become ready. Our intention is that students will develop fluency alongside a life-long interest and ability to learn new languages.