Language Learning

At ISUtrecht all teachers are considered language teachers – with a special responsibility to recognise and support each and every aspect of language learning. This involves learning a language, learning about a language and learning through languages. It also encompasses using language as a tool to think, discuss and reflect on information, ideas and issues.

One of the secondary ELA classes in September 2019

All staff members who work within the Middle Years and Diploma Programme, are responsible for language development of the primary students, so all secondary students will be:

  • successful in English, having full access to the academic language;
  • able to communicate in Dutch with confidence and functionality, with the ability to participate in Dutch culture;
  • fluent in their home language(s) and able to communicate with confidence and functionality, with the ability to take part fully with their native culture(s);
  • balanced multi-linguals with well-developed cognitive and language skills.

English Language Acquisition

English is the academic language at ISUtrecht. All classes, other than language acquisition classes, are taught in English; and English Language Acquisition (ELA) students will take part in an immersion programme. This means ELA students are challenged academically in the same curriculum as their peers.

Beginning English Language Acquisition students are accepted into the MYP for grades 6 and 7 only. From grade 8 onwards, students will need to have an appropriate level of English to access the curriculum and there will be English testing prior to acceptance into the programme. Acceptance is under the school’s discretion and deciding factors will include the applicants’ English language test results, grade level, and academic grades. English admissions testing will include reading comprehension with written responses, and an interview.

Home Language

ISUtrecht is a multi-lingual community and we embrace our cultural and linguistic diversity. We celebrate the variety of languages spoken and encourage families to maintain and enrich their home language(s).

As a school, we are consistently updating and developing our mother tongue programme and currently offer after school lessons for primary students in a number of languages. The ISUtrecht hopes to make these MT clubs available for secondary students too. In addition to this, teachers encourage students to use their home languages to access the school curriculum and communicate together, in a secure and positive manner.

Language Acquisition

Language Acquisition (LA) courses are offered to all students, so they have the opportunity to build language skills in another (foreign) language. At ISUtrecht, the secondary department offers:

  • Dutch LA to students whose home language(s) are not Dutch.
  • Spanish LA
  • English LA is for students who are new to English and it is only offered in grades 6 and 7. All beginners will take English at this level. It is the intention that after one year of this course, students will have the necessary skills to join the secondary English Language and Literature course

Language and Literature

Language and Literature (LL) is the study of language and literature at a mother tongue level. At ISUtrecht the secondary department offers:

  • English LL for all students, with the exception of students who are new to English in grades 6 and 7. However, all students, from grade 8 onwards, are required to take this course for their MYP certificates
  • Dutch LL is for all students whose home language is Dutch. Additionally, students whose home language is not Dutch, but who meet the language requirements will be allowed to study at this level


ISUtrecht Language Policy
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