At The Bell Foundation we believe that all children, including those who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL), should have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. There are now over 1.5 million pupils in UK schools with EAL, a figure which has more than doubled over the last ten years. This number continues to increase, with a fifth of primary pupils (21.2%) and 16.9% of UK secondary school pupils now classified as EAL.
In 2016 the Department for Education (DfE) introduced a mandatory five stage proficiency scale as part of the annual school census. As a result of this requirement The Bell Foundation published a EAL Assessment Framework for Schools, developed in partnership with leading universities, to support teachers to assess the proficiency of EAL learners. Although the DfE has now withdrawn this requirement the Foundation strongly recommends that schools continue to undertake valid and reliable assessment to ensure learners using EAL can fully access the curriculum and fulfil their potential.
Children with EAL follow the national curriculum while developing their English language skills at the same time. Despite the research which demonstrates the importance of improving proficiency in English so that pupils can achieve their full academic potential, there is still no national agreement on how teachers can best support pupils to do this, and the EAL training that teachers receive remains largely inconsistent.
The Bell Foundation’s programme for EAL learners began in January 2014, and continues to effectively build upon lessons learnt from our commissioned research. This is supported by significant work undertaken to explore the extent of the issues faced by schools, teachers and EAL pupils themselves.
EAL Programme Objectives
The aspiration of our EAL Programme is to improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children in the UK who have English as an Additional Language, in order to benefit the individual child and society as a whole.
We work in partnership with a range of organisations to achieve the EAL Programme’s three key objectives:
Objective 1: Capacity building
To support charities and other organisations to develop activity that improves the educational outcomes of children with EAL by building their capacity and knowledge.
Objective 2: Developing and evaluating models of good practice
To support schools and other organisations that work directly with children with EAL. We are working with partners to develop, trial and evaluate different models to find out what works to improve disadvantaged EAL learners’ attainment, and help them share best practice with others.
Objective 3: Thought leadership
We work with those who undertake research to learn more about the needs and experiences of children with EAL, and what impacts on their achievement. We fund research and help researchers share what they find with others, so that it can inform future research, policy and practice.