The rich diversity of England’s culture, society and language, which has evolved over centuries, is reflected in schools. Many pupils arrive at school already speaking more than one language, with English being their second, third or fourth language.. There are more than 1.6 million pupils who use EAL in maintained schools in England. This makes pupils who use EAL a key characteristic of student bodies in many schools.
The Department for Education (DfE) records a pupil as using EAL if ‘they are exposed to a language at home that is known or believed to be other than English.’ This means that if a pupil is identified as using EAL when they start school at 3-5 years old, they will continue be recorded as an EAL user throughout their education and their life.
EAL in the National Curriculum
There is no specific EAL curriculum, instead the DfE expect that effective teaching and learning for learners using EAL happens through the National Curriculum:
Teachers must take account of the needs of pupils whose first language is not English. Monitoring of progress should take account of the pupil’s age, length of time in this country, previous educational experience and ability in other languages.
The ability of pupils for whom English is an Additional Language to take part in the national curriculum may be in advance of their communication skills in English. Teachers should plan teaching opportunities to help pupils develop their English and should aim to provide the support pupils need to take part in all subjects