Best Practice

Resources to support EAL students

ICT can play a key role in supporting students who have English as an additional language. SEN expert Sal McKeown recommends some of her choice resources.

An increasing number of people are concerned about the impact of cuts on children from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds and those who are learning English as an additional language (EAL). 

Chris Pim, an independent consultant who works with schools and services in the UK has seen first-hand how local authorities have pulled back on their specialist services.

He explained: “While almost all local authorities will have a named person with a brief for ethnic minority pupils, this may be just one of many roles they have to fill. As services are cut, authorities might opt just to maintain a team of translators or outsource provision to a private company.”

Mr Pim is particularly concerned about the needs of advanced EAL learners. He added: “They may be coping but often they are underachieving. An EAL pupil may be at Level 4B at the end of year 6 and only 5C at end of year 9.

“Schools should not be satisfied with this level of achievement and staff really need to engage in robust monitoring systems and develop specific and additional assistance to help them fulfil their potential.”

EAL children at all levels will suffer because funding is not ring-fenced and schools do not always have the capacity or expertise to take on this area of work. 

Many authorities developed provision for new arrivals so that they were not just placed in lower sets but were supported with a proper induction and a well planned buddying system. Critics argue that individual schools often cannot match this level of support.

Resources and expertise are crucial to helping pupils cross the divide between home language, English and the language needed in the classroom. Let’s take a look at some of what is out there.

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