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English as an Additional Langauge (EAL)

What is EAL?

English as an Additional Language (EAL) recognises that many pupils learning English already know more than one other language and are adding English to their repertoire. EAL can be broken down into early stage learners and advanced learners of EAL.

Early stage learners are pupils who are at the earlier stages of learning EAL. This is often used interchangeably with ‘new arrivals’ or ‘beginners in English’. Advanced learners of EAL are pupils who have had considerable exposure to English and no longer in the early stages of acquiring the language.

It should not be assumed that an EAL learner has an SEN in cognition and learning unless their progress is notably slower or markedly different than for similar pupils.

The SEN Code of Practice (DfES, 2001) makes this clear by stating:

“Children must not be regarded as having a learning difficulty solely because the language or form of language of their home is different from the language in which they will be taught.”

How do we implement this within the school?

High Quality Teaching:

This begins as soon as the New Arrival starts at Rabbsfarm. Relevant information is collected by our EAL Coordinator as to the child’s linguistic background, previous schooling, parents’ abilities to speak English etc. and an initial assessment is made about the child’s stage of English acquisition. Whatever stage they are at, it is vital to remember that EAL learners are as able as any other pupils, they just haven’t acquired fluency in English yet.

Scaffolding  learning is a blanket term that  covers a range of strategies used in class to support any EAL learner in their move to independent learning. It can include all or some of the following: pairing a child with a “ buddy” who speaks the same language; new /difficult vocabulary explained, clarified, on a prompt sheet etc. ; children given thinking time to formulate their response; pre-teaching of new concepts to enable EAL children to access future lessons and more!

Around the school and in our classrooms we have multi-lingual posters. This ensures that everyone feels welcome at the school, particularly those with EAL, and supports learning of everyday classroom language.

Rabbsfarm Young Interpreters – At our school we have several ‘young interpreters’ who are signposted to in the school through a display board. This ensures that all children are aware of
who are young interpreters are and what language they can interpret in.

How can I support at home?

If you think your child might need help with their cognition and learning needs at home you can support them in the following ways:

  • Understand that many children will go through a ‘silent’ period at some stage, sometimes for an extended period. Be patient during this time and continue to expect that they will respond.
  • Children sharing the same first language should not be discouraged from sharing that language in play. This should be encouraged.
  • Find out what your child has an interest in and motivation for and use resources that help develop these areas. For instance, creating treasure hunts in English, watching English TV shows and listening to English music they enjoy.
  • Modelling is important for introducing children to a new language so model as much as you can to encourage the child's learning.
  • Stories based on personal experience can be a powerful medium for supporting children’s personal, social and emotional development as well as their communicative and linguistic skills.

Useful links:

Learn English Kids created by the British Council have lots of free online games, songs, stories and activities for children. For parents they have articles on supporting children in learning English, videos on using English at home and information about face-to-face courses around the world.  Click on the logo below to take you directly to the website.



If you would like any further information on the EAL support we offer, please contact
Sara Daly, the schools SENCo, on 

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