New Arrivals

The term ‘new arrivals’ is used to describe children who are international migrants, including refugees, asylum seekers, children of people working or studying in England and economic migrants from overseas. This definition implies that they are newly arrived from outside the United Kingdom rather than new to a school from another area of Britain. It is important to welcome them and support them with admission procedures that enable children and young people to rapidly settle in, become accustomed to schooling in England and make good progress.

Key principles for schools working with new arrivals:

  • New arrivals are a very diverse group. Their proficiency in English levels may vary from New to English (Band A) to Fluent (Band E). See EAL Assessment.
  • Learners can arrive at any age and with widely different socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Some come from privileged urban backgrounds having had a high standard of education, others have had little or interrupted schooling or may have experienced traumatic events. For more see Diversity of Learners who use EAL.
  • Children and young people learn best when they feel secure and valued. Schools need to ensure that there is a supportive induction process for newly arrived pupils and ensure their safety.
  • In English schools every child and young person is entitled to fulfil their potential through access to the curriculum. This is best achieved with a whole-school context where learners are educated along with their peers in mainstream classes.
  • Provision for learners should be based on a meaningful assessment of their prior knowledge and experience as well as their language proficiency
  • All schools are required to promote race equality in line with the Equality Act (2010)
  • Parents or carers of new arrivals may also need support in accessing local services

For more information about new arrivals in general, both primary and secondary, the National Strategies Guidance developed in 2007, although no longer official government policy, is useful and comprehensive. Please note that the definition of new arrivals contained within the document includes those learners who move within the UK, which is different to The Bell Foundation’s definition of a new arrival.

Induction programmes for new arrivals:

The support offered by schools to their new arrivals is likely to be more effective if they have an EAL induction programme in place. Such programmes plan the support offered to new arrivals in the initial period at the school, from just before the admission to school to the first few weeks. The Foundation suggests considering the PAWS (Prepare – Alert – Welcome – Support) structure to EAL induction as seen in the graphic below:

Stage 1 - Prepare: Prior to admission
Stage 2 - Alert: Before the pupil starts:
Stage 3 - Welcome: The first days
Stage 4 - Support: The first weeks


Below are some of the potential ideas and strategies to consider for each of these EAL induction stages. These are broad guidelines and might need to be adapted depending on a school’s particular context.

Prepare – Prior to admission:

  • Gather information from the learner and parents to create a pupil profile
  • Arrange a tour for the new pupil and parents / carers with first language support where possible
  • Provide information for the parents, e.g. homework
  • Agree a start date and organise an initial timetable

Alert – Before the pupil starts:

  • Send the pupil profile to all relevant staff
  • Organise a buddy system for class and break times
  • Prepare resources for the learner’s first few days
  • Plan support for each part of the day
  • Make essential arrangements, e.g. PE kit, Free School Meals eligibility and bus transport to school

Welcome – The first days:

  • Greet new arrivals and take them to class
  • Introduce them to their buddy(ies)
  • Check they have food, drink and activities organised for lunch time

Support – The first weeks:

  • Put language support in place, e.g. consider creating a scheme of work for learners who are New to English
  • Put pastoral support in place
  • Complete an EAL assessment and set language targets. It is suggested that any initial assessment occurs only after the first two weeks of a learner at the school.
  • Monitor progress and adjust support where necessary
  • Keep in touch with parents

Clear EAL strategies will be important when putting language support in place. Numerous strategies linked to proficiency in English (Band A to Band E) can be found in ‘Support Strategies for Primary Schools’ and ‘Support Strategies for Secondary Schools’ that accompany The EAL Assessment Framework for Schools.

For more specific EAL teaching approaches and strategies schools are advised to:

Newly arrived pupils who are New to English
Developing induction programmes for newly arrived pupils using EAL

Courses and webinars

Leading a Whole-School Strategy for EAL (Online Course)

13 September 2022
Online course

Supporting New Arrivals who are New to English (Online Course)

20 September 2022
Online course

Adaptive Teaching for Learners who use EAL (Online Course)

1 November 2022
Online course