Ethnic Minority Achievement
English as an Additional Language - Secondary
Working with More Advanced EAL learners at KS3 & KS4

What are the needs of more advanced EAL learners?

  • To continue to develop and enhance their English Language skills

Pupils gain 'basic interpersonal communication skills' (BICS) in up to 2 years - but it takes from 5-7 years to acquire the full range of literacy skills: 'cognitive academic language proficiency' (CALP). Read an explanation of the essential points of BICS and CALP.

Therefore the needs of bilingual pupils do not cease once they are proficient in everyday spoken English. They will need continuing support in developing appropriate literacy skills, and in acquiring the language necessary for full cognitive development and access to the National Curriculum.

  • To achieve their full academic potential

High expectations for EAL pupils should be maintained.

  • Maintaining bilingualism

Being bilingual is an advantage, and maintaining first language skills is vital for cognitive development.

  • Celebrating cultural diversity

Acknowledging and celebrating pupils' culture and religion is important to them, and enriches the whole school.

How can the school meet the needs of more advanced EAL learners?

  • Awareness of the demands of the English language

Pupils who have a good knowledge of English language will continue to need support in understanding and developing awareness of, for example, idiom, metaphor and colloquialism.

  • Differentiating the curriculum

The Cummins framework provides a useful tool for planning for the inclusion of EAL pupils, through awareness of language and cognitive demands.

  • Opportunities to use first language in school

Pupils can sit additional GCSE's in first language. ICT can provide opportunities for some learning to take place in first language, eg through research in home language on internet, on-line bilingual dictionaries.

  • Celebrating cultural diversity

This can be done through celebrating cultural and religious festivals, and creating opportunities to include diversity in the curriculum. For some examples from the EMA team, see 'Good Practice Case Studies'.


What about exams?

  • Allowances for EAL pupils in standard school examinations

Concessions for EAL pupils for SATs tests, GCSE's should be checked. Some pupils may be entitled to extra time, translation, and the use of bilingual dictionaries is allowed except in English exams. However, as these rules may vary, they should be checked for individual cases. EMAS can provide advice to schools.

  • Additional GCSE's in first language

Comprehensive information on the range of languages available at GCSE, and alternative qualifications in community languages, is available on the Community Language pages of the CiLT website.

Local Community Language classes offer support for some languages in some areas of Gloucestershire. For more information go to Community Language section.

EMA Team can provide advice on preparing pupils for examinations, and support schools in finding examiners for oral exams.

Find detailed information here

  • Pitman's ESOL exams

EMA Team offers Pitman's ESOL exams as an alternative to GCSE English. These exams cover a range of 6 levels, the higher levels being recognised as the equivalent of GCSE grade C.

For more information, contact Dorry Evans at READS (see contact details below).

  • Alternatives for late arrivals/ pupils with little previous schooling

EMA Team can provide advice on suitable alternative provision and qualifications for pupils arriving with little English in Y10/11. Contact READS to discuss individual cases.

How can the EMA Team support schools with more advanced EAL learners?

  • Advice to mainstream staff in schools
  • Training and INSET
  • Resources - READS can provide advice to Gloucestershire schools on suitable resources for bilingual learners

For more information, contact:

Sheilagh Crowther, Head of EMA Secondary Team,

Race Equality and Diversity Serivce,

Children and Young People's Directorate, Gloucestershire County Council
Matson Lane, Matson, Gloucester, GL4 6DX

Tel: 01452 427261

email: reads@gloucestershire.gov.uk