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Understanding the language and literacy needs of EAL learners

Added 20 Sep 2021 | Updated 07 Oct 22

Getting to grips with the EAL proficiency stages

Pupils with English as an additional language now comprise nearly 21% of the primary school population in England and over 17% of the secondary population. Learners of English as an additional language at all ages face the challenge of having to do two or even three of the following:

  • Learning a new language
  • Learning the curriculum though English and maybe
  • Learning to read for the first time in a second language

The resources

These four resources provide teachers with the tools to understand the language and literacy development needs of this significant and varied group.

Assessment of pupils with English as an additional language

EAL assessment is more than literacy assessment as it focuses on the development of speaking and listening, reading, writing and viewing across the whole curriculum.

The three types of EAL assessment are:

  • Initial assessment
  • Snapshot EAL assessment (EAL proficiency stages)
  • Assessment for learning (formative)

A whole-school EAL reflection audit

Tips for drafting an audit on EAL pupils at school, including:

  • Creating an inclusive and supportive environment
  • Building an inclusive curriculum
  • Teaching and learning
  • Monitoring and evaluation

EAL glossary of terms

The specialist terms recommended by the Department for Education to be used to describe the different levels of ability of EAL learners:

  • New to English
  • Early acquisition
  • Developing competence
  • Competent
  • Fluent

Reading development for learners of English as an additional language

Specific issues pertinent to school-age pupils learning to read in a second or additional language:

  • Whole text level
  • Sentence level
  • Word level
  • Letter level
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