Call for better understanding of range of EAL attainment

Average attainment figures for students with English as an additional language (EAL) mask a “huge range of results” for different groups, which schools need to better understand, researchers have said.

A study by the University of Oxford is calling on schools to use its evidence to better target EAL funding.

For example, the research finds that speakers of Portuguese, Somali, Lingala and Lithuanian have “especially low outcomes” at 16, while Russian and Spanish speakers do well. 

EAL pupils in the ethnic groups of White Other, Black African and Pakistani also have markedly lower outcomes than their non-EAL peers.

Last year, more than one million children were categorised as EAL, with local authorities allocating £243 million to schools to support these pupils.

The research, conducted by Professors Victoria Murphy and Steve Strand,  highlights that currently EAL is used to refer to any child that speaks a language at home in addition to English. Pupils are eligible for funding if they have entered the English education system within the past three years.

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