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School approaches to the education of EAL students

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  • Language development, social integration and achievement

    School approaches to the education of EAL students


    APRIL 2014

    Funded by

    REpoRt AuthoRS

    Madeleine Arnot, Claudia Schneider, Michael Evans, Yongcan Liu, Oakleigh Welply and Deb Davies-Tutt

    With the assistance of Karen Forbes and Diana Sutton




    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form (including photocopying or storing it in any medium by electronic means and whether or not transiently or incidentally to some other use of this publication) without the written permission of the copyright owner. Applications for the copywright owners written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to the publisher.

    Copyright University of Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin University and The Bell Educational Trust Limited (operating as The Bell Foundation)

    The Bell Educational Trust Limited is a charitable company limited by guarantee number 1048465 established on 5 April 1972 and also a charity registered with the Charity Commission number 311585

    Published by The Bell Educational Trust Limited (operating as The Bell Foundation) ISBN 978-0-9928894-0-1

    the Bell Foundation Red Cross Lane Cambridge CB2 0QU



    The Bell Foundation started in 2012 and is working to overcome exclusion through language education in the UK. The Foundation is focusing on two thematic areas: children with English as an additional language and offenders whose first language is not English. The Bell Foundation has developed a five-year programme working with partners aiming to improve the educational outcomes for children with English as an additional language.

    The research team based in the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University and in the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Anglia Ruskin University would like to thank The Bell Foundation for the opportunity to research this important area of school provision, for the financial support it gave the project and the continuous help offered by Diana Sutton (Director) and Helen Elmerstig of The Bell Foundation.

    The research team would like to thank, in particular, the students, parents, teachers, headteachers of the two schools we were researching, and the EAL experts and Local Authority EAL coordinators who gave their time and commitment to the project. We greatly value the insights they gave us into the challenges associated with language diversity, their professional knowledge and strategies they use to support the educational achievement, language development and social integration of all children, irrespective of origin.

    Finally we wish to thank Karen Forbes for the assistance she gave in writing a review of the academic literature for this report. Thanks are also due to our own two institutions for the administrative support they offered: David Carter, Philip Vale, Jo Vine and Sarah Walters. The views expressed in this report are those of the research team alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Bell Foundation as the funder of the project.

  • 3

    Language development, social integration and achievement

    School approaches to the education of EAL students


    APRIL 2014

    Funded by

    REpoRt AuthoRS

    Anglia Ruskin university: Dr Claudia Schneider, Research Co-Director, Principal Lecturer in Social Policy, Deb Davies-Tutt, Research Assistant

    Faculty of Education, the university of Cambridge: Professor Madeleine Arnot, Research Co-Director,Dr. Michael Evans, Reader in Second Language Education, Dr. Yongcan Liu, University Lecturer in Second Language Education, Dr. Oakleigh Welply, University Lecturer in Sociology of Education

    with the assistance of Karen Forbes and Diana Sutton




    A8 Eight Accession countries which joined the EU in 2004: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia

    App Assessing Pupils Progress

    BICS Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills

    CALp Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency

    DFE Department for Education

    EAL English as Additional Language

    ELL English Language Learners

    ILp Individual Learning Plans

    LA Local Authority

    NALDIC National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum

    ofsted Office for Standards in Education

    pEE Points, Evidence and Explain

    pISA The Programme for International Student Assessment

    tA Teaching Assistants

  • 5

    ForewordIn the UK today, there are over 1 million children with English as an additional language who speak in excess of 360 languages between them, in addition to English. These children may belong to well established ethnic minority communities, or be children of refugees and asylum seekers, or children of migrants whose parents have come to the UK to work, they may live in large cities or in more isolated rural areas. Some of these children may be invisible, outside formal education, or not yet allocated school places and so will not appear in school statistics at all. Some children may have been well-educated in their country of origin, while others may have had little, or disrupted schooling. What evidence that is available suggests that these children do not achieve to their full potential.

    This report presents the interim findings of a three year study, commissioned from Cambridge University and Anglia Ruskin University and funded by The Bell Foundation. It develops the link between language development, social integration and educational achievement. As the project continues into its final two years, it will research the progress of EAL learners through secondary school, the role of the assessment of these learners and their academic progress, and the involvement of parents in EAL students schooling. The Bell Foundation commissioned this report in the context of rapidly changing financial support for EAL learners and teachers, at a time when the numbers of EAL learners are on a steady upward trend and when major changes are happening to education in the UK. It looks at an under researched group of EAL learners the Eastern European child in the English school system.

    One of the most striking findings of the report is that it revealed as much about what the school system does not know as what schools do know and provide for. All children have clear rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child to an education which develops their potential and enables them to achieve. This report is an important start to informing much needed work by academics, teacher training institutes and practitioners to address the rights and needs of a growing group of children for whom English is not their mother tongue.

    Diana Sutton Director - The Bell Foundation



    CoNtENtS LISt

    1. INtRoDuCtIoN ............................................................................. 9

    2. NAtIoNAL AND LoCAL pAttERNS oF EAL pRoVISIoN ............. 11

    2.1 Definitions

    2.2 The national context

    2.3 Current UK government policy regarding EAL provision

    2.4 EU models of integration of newly arrived migrant students

    2.5 Linguistic diversity and educational attainment

    2.6 Summary

    3. thE EASt oF ENGLAND pRoJECt: CoNCEptuAL AND RESEARCh FRAMEWoRKS .......................... 18

    3.1 EAL students in East of England state-funded schools

    3.2 Local authority support for EAL provision

    3.3 Research aims

    3.4 Language development, social disadvantage and educational achievement: a conceptual framework

    3.5 The research design

    3.6 Researching EAL provision in primary and secondary schools

    3.7 Summary

    4. SChooL ACCESS to KNoWLEDGE ABout thE hoME AND EDuCAtIoNAL BACKGRouNDS oF EAL StuDENtS ........... 31

    4.1 Knowledge about the EAL students parental backgrounds

    4.2 Knowledge of prior schooling and performance

    4.3 Sources of knowledge about new EAL students

    4.4 Dissemination of information within the schools

    4.5 Initial assessment of EAL students shortly after admission

    4.6 Summary

    5. LANGuAGE AttItuDES AND pEDAGoGY .................................... 40

    5.1 Language use and language policy

    5.2 Attitudes towards languages

    5.3 Classroom strategies for EAL students

    5.4 Summary

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    6. EAL StuDENtS EDuCAtIoNAL AChIEVEMENt ......................... 52

    6.1 Achievement data for Brenton Primary School

    6.2 Staff perceptions of EAL primary school students educational achievement

    6.3 Support for EAL students at the primary school

    6.4 Achievement data for Windscott Academy

    6.5 Staff perceptions of EAL secondary school students educational achievement

    6.6 Support for EAL students at the secondary school

    6.7 Summary

    7. SoCIAL INtEGRAtIoN ................................................................ 62

    7.1 Social Integration in Brenton Primary School

    7.2 Social integration in Windscott Academy

    7.3 Summary

    8. CoMMuNICAtIoN StRuCtuRES AND pRoCESSES ................... 75

    8.1 Formal and informal communication structures regarding EAL

    8.2 EAL pupils senior management

    8.3 EAL pupils

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