English as an Additional Language – not a special educational need, but I’d hazard a guess many of you are asked for support and guidance.

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English as an Additional Language.

A learner of English as an additional language (EAL) is a pupil whose first language is other than English. ‘First language is the language to which the child was initially exposed during early development and continues to use this language in the home and community.  (DfE 2007)


Assessment of EAL

Accurate assessment of a child’s fluency in English is important.  It will help you to determine the amount of support required and will help should you suspect there are any underlying SEN issues.



Support for EAL

Aside from High Quality teaching students need some specific strategies/reasonable adjustments to help them on their English journey.  

Translating whole chunks of text using Google will not help the student!  Translating carrier vocabulary will.  (Notice I didn’t say translate the key terms – you want them to learn these alongside their English counterparts.)


When you suspect EAL and SEN...

Undertake assessments in the home language wherever possible.  Ideally using tests created in the home language, although using a live interpreter (not a family member!) is something to resort to.  Just make a note in your assessments as the data cannot necessarily be reliably used beyond giving you a picture of needs.


Translated SEN materials

Not only are our students EAL but their parents are too.  And sometimes we need to communicate information that is complicated, convoluted, full of technical jargon and very personal.  Ideally, you need to use translators (the human kind, not Google and Yandex) so that families can ask questions too. 


An English as an Additional Language (EAL) Programme

Caroline Scott

Are you looking for a book to support your EAL learners, especially the new arrivals?

Try this one.  With an integral assessment and suitable for ages 7-14 it is likely to meet the needs of that new EAL programme you’d like to deliver.
Order your copy here.

Top Tip


Did you know I can read and understand around 15 languages?  Did you know that I can not speak, listen to or write most of them?
 When we speak we do not always articulate all the sounds, we have accents and we use abbreviations, slurs and localisations.  Every one of those has to be ‘interpreted’ when we are listening to a different language.  What started off as a simple uttered sentence might require a lot of time to process and understand.  EAL pupils are listening, constantly processing and might take time to generate their response…by which time you’ve moved on!
Routine helps!  Keeping your welcome the same each day for a few weeks enables them to get quicker at processing your words.  We might assume that by greeting them in different ways we are increasing their vocabulary, but not if they didn’t understand in the first place! 


Gordon Ward’s Racing to English

Probably the best £50 I’ve spent on EAL resources!

From a picture dictionary to games, the CD contains over 300 resources for you to use.



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