We’re GESS Award Winners!

We’re GESS Award Winners!

At a Gala Dinner in Dubai, the Learning Village was announced SEN Inclusive Resource/Equipment Supplier of the Year 2020. The trophy was presented at the GESS Awards, which highlight the best educational resources, services, people and establishments across the world.

We’re particularly proud to have won the category for SEN Inclusive Resources, because this is a vital aspect of our programme. The Learning Village is specifically designed for students who need a carefully scaffolded approach to literacy and language-learning. It delivers learning through the universal language of images, making it ideal for learners of any language who are struggling with literacy.

The programme is self-paced and operates in a clear, systematic learning environment. Proceeding in small steps, it allows students to practise vocabulary and sentence-level language skills extensively. Our image-based format is effective and easy to follow, making it possible for even pre-literate learners to access the resources. To find out more about how we support learners with an SEN need, click here.

Our learners (and teachers) love the Learning Village! It’s a hugely popular programme, great fun to use and ideal for raising confidence and engaging disoriented learners. We’re delighted that the GESS judges felt the same!

‘At Lea Forest we have a number of children who are EAL and who also have an SEN need. Assessing and teaching these children is particularly challenging and the Learning Village is a great support for them and us as teachers.

The Curriculum Content lessons empower learners with SEN and let them participate in class. It’s amazing to hear the children coming out with advanced words and actually knowing what they mean. They get to practise and recycle the vocabulary, so that it becomes embedded. It is a really cost-effective way to support these children.

‘Overall, the use of the Learning Village has shown a really positive impact in terms of accelerated progress and attainment in phonics, reading and writing and in specialist topics. It’s absolutely brilliant!’

Sarah Jones, EAL Co-ordinator, Lea Forest Academy, UK

‘The Learning Village has proved to be a good intervention programme for our EAL children and SEN. The children are very enthusiastic about using it, and are becoming more independent. It is clear that [they] are making progress.’

Sam Mobbs, Class Teacher, Oasis Watermead Academy, UK


The Director of Across Cultures, Caroline Scott, is currently engaged in New Zealand, developing the state-wide Learning Village programme for this country, in conjunction with the New Zealand Ministry of Education. The award was therefore collected on behalf of Across Cultures by Norm Dean, Chief Education Officer at Taaleem, one of the largest education providers in the Middle East. Norm has been a longstanding supporter of the Learning Village since working with Caroline Scott in an international school setting in Cairo. We couldn’t have wished for a better person to collect this prestigious award on our behalf!


For more news from BESA members, please click here.

About Across Cultures

Caroline Scott, Author and Director at Across Cultures originally began writing an induction to English, funded by the Local Authority of Tower Hamlets in 2002.

This funding was awarded to accommodate for the distinct need for additional support for new-to-English learners in the mainstream. After writing her first draft, Caroline went on to develop this further, eventually providing training for many schools in Tower Hamlets and beyond. After some years, Caroline left Tower Hamlets to start an international School overseas. There, she was able to develop ideas further.Following significant additional research, she wrote her first book, ‘Teaching Children as an Additional Language: A Programme for 7-11 year olds.’ She later went on to write her second book, ‘Teaching English as an Additional Language 5-11, A Whole School Resource’, which encompassed many more facets of language learning, including language learning strategies, additional assessment and differentiating further for all levels of language across all curriculum subjects.

The Learning Village, an online English language learning programme for learners in schools (www.learningvillage.net), was a natural evolution of her work. It allows increased flexibility for learners and teachers, as well as providing significantly more content and assessment opportunities. Caroline also delivers a three-day training for senior teachers/leaders on supporting EAL learning across the curriculum (the EAL Framework course) as well as whole-school insets and one-day courses on how to achieve effective EAL teaching through the Learning Village.