Best Practice

Strategies for supporting EAL students

How can schools tailor their approaches to enable learners with English as an additional language to thrive? Lydia Lutton offers some best practice advice

There are more than one million children between five and 16-years-old in UK schools who, between them, speak in excess of 360 languages in addition to English.

With nearly one in seven students learning English as an additional language (EAL), meeting their diverse needs is a concern for every teacher. For this article, students at my school were interviewed and surveyed to explore how we could support EAL learners to achieve their full potential through assessment, teaching and learning, and the whole-school ethos.

Pupils learning EAL share many common characteristics with pupils whose first language is English. However, their learning experience differs because they are learning in and through another language, and because they may come from cultural backgrounds and communities that have different understandings and expectations of education, language and learning.

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