EAL (English as an Additional Language)

EAL Lead - Lauren Mather 


There are now more than one million learners in UK schools who speak English as an additional language (EAL). In our school population, we have 7 per cent of children who have English as an Additional Language.

Our EAL learners come from diverse backgrounds and we have a growing number of different languages being spoken in our school - you can tell this by the number of different flags that hang in the school reception area.


English as an Additional Language (EAL) refers to any student learning and using English as an additional or second language.

‘A pupil’s first language is any language other than English that a child was exposed to during early development and continues to be exposed to in the home or community.’

If a child has been exposed to a language other than English, it is important for us to know, regardless of how well they now speak English.

EAL learners are a diverse group and there is a range of definitions for an EAL pupil:

  • children who are growing up in bilingual families (having two languages spoke at home)
  • children who have lived in UK a long time, or were born in the UK, but speak one language at home and another in school
  • children who began life in another country, where another language was spoken, and who now live in the UK


We recognise that a pupil's ability to thrive is linked to an inclusive environment where they feel valued and confident. As with other groups of learners, our teachers adapt their lessons to make sure that all learners can access the learning provided. They do this by involving learners in activities where the language is challenging but appropriate to their abilities and interests.


How can teachers best meet the needs of EAL learners?

Certain principles help teachers adapt their lessons to the needs of EAL learners. By following these, teachers can help these children reach their educational goals and play a positive part in our school life, the community and society as a whole.

 The potential among EAL learners for bilingualism is particularly important, as it increases mental ability such as problem-solving and creativity. Bilingualism gives EAL learners a fantastic advantage when looking for a job later on, too. Our teachers therefore consider the role of learners’ first language and be aware that the acquisition of a new language goes hand-in-hand with cognitive and academic development.

 Here are some of the ways our teachers ensure EAL learners can access the curriculum and reach their full potential: 

  • Collaborative group work
  • Enhanced opportunities for speaking and listening
  • Effective role models of speaking, reading and writing
  • English speaking talk partners to help develop vocabulary
  • Alternative phrasing of instructions and objectives
  • Additional visual support, e.g. posters, objects, non-verbal clues, pictures, demonstration, use of gesture, etc.
  • Bilingual resources where needed, e.g. dictionaries, on-line support, texts, key word lists
  • Writing frames, directed activities related to texts
  • Opportunities for role play
  • Regular opportunities for feedback from staff
  • Learning progression moves from concrete to abstract
  • Further support for pupils’ language development is also provided outside the formal curriculum, e.g. in assemblies, school clubs, homework clubs, etc.


Parent information

 If you are a parent of an EAL learner and would like any advice or support, please contact our EAL lead on: eal@abbeymead.gloucs.sch.uk.


Useful information and resources 



All above documents can be downloaded in a range of languages (including Arabic, Romanian, Polish and Ukrainian) here: