Best Practice

Challenge and opportunity: Supporting transition for year 7 learners using EAL

Transition to year 7 is a challenging time for all pupils, especially for those using English as an additional language. Sarah Moodie offers ideas, tips, resources and advice for secondary schools welcoming EAL learners this September


Each September a new cohort begins year 7. Some arrive feeling positive, relatively confident, and excited about a new, bigger environment, new subjects, making new friends.

For others, transition is daunting. They are anxious about getting lost, finding the work difficult, feeling lonely. And for many it is a mixture of all these feelings.

Teachers, of course, must seek to harness the excitement and allay the doubts and fears.

Researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Lancaster have explored the linguistic challenges faced by all pupils at transition from key stage 2 to 3 (Deignan et al, 2023). They highlight the explosion of vocabulary as the curriculum splinters into disciplines taught by multiple, specialist teachers.

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