Blog: How to use the EAL Learner Proficiency, Attainment and Progress Maps

The Bell Foundation has commissioned a series of maps to illustrate where the need for EAL support may be most acute at local authority, and school level, in England.

Through generating and applying evidence, The Bell Foundation aims to improve policy, practice and systems to enable children, adults and communities in the UK that speak English as an Additional Language (EAL) to overcome disadvantage through language education. To this end, the Foundation has commissioned a series of maps to illustrate where the need for EAL support may be most acute at local authority, and school level, in England.

The maps use data that was collected in (2018-2020), prior to the pandemic meaning that in certain areas (especially those where the impact of Covid-19 was greater) the maps are likely to underestimate need. Research published by the Department for Education (DfE) and The Bell Foundation has demonstrated the impact of the pandemic on the learning, and language learning, of pupils who use EAL.

These interactive maps offer a visual format which enables school and local authority leaders and others to see how their region performs relative to other areas, and across different factors. There are 33 maps available which provide more in depth understanding of factors relevant to EAL learners within each local authority area. Their purpose is to support understanding:

  • Of where additional language support may be needed at local and regional level.
  • On areas where EAL support should be prioritised.
  • To support the strategic planning of wider EAL services.

The available maps include:

Contextual maps

The English proficiency of pupils who use EAL by local authority level

Evidence has shown that pupils who are in the early acquisition stages of English language development are at risk of underachieving. This is why it is important to understand the English proficiency of each EAL pupil in a class, and all EAL pupils in a school or region in order to plan for appropriate and additional support. This map uses 2018 data, when assessment of EAL proficiency was statutory, and is therefore only indicative of where there may be areas of low proficiency. Ideally, schools should annually assess the proficiency in English of each of their EAL pupils to identify pupils in need of additional language support and to help plan recovery and inform teaching.

The proportion of pupils who use EAL by local authority

This map identifies where there are high proportions of learners who use EAL. Using this map alongside any data voluntarily collected by schools on the proficiency in English of their pupils (as recommended by The Bell Foundation and in line with best practice) will help leaders understand where there may be a greater demand for targeted recovery for EAL pupils and general EAL support within their region.

Income deprivation affecting children index (IDACI) level by local authority

The link between deprivation and attainment is well documented and it is important to consider this factor alongside EAL specific data when planning language support provision for EAL learners. (DfE, 2018).

Composite maps identifying areas of need for KS2 and KS4 by local authority

These maps draw on the following four factors equally:

  • The proportion of pupils who use EAL.
  • The attainment of pupils who use EAL at KS2/KS4.
  • The proportion of pupils who have reached competency or fluency in English.
  • Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI).

The purpose of the maps is to support strategic planning nationally or regionally by indicating areas where pupils who use EAL may be most in need and in greatest numbers.

Attainment, progress and relative attainment KS2

KS2 attainment of pupils who use EAL by local authority and by school level

For leaders who are interested in planning for primary school level, or for secondary level leaders interested in transition planning it is useful to understand the KS2 attainment of pupils who use EAL to identify where additional support, resources or CPD training should be focused.

KS2 progress of pupils who use EAL by local authority and by school level

Factors outside the classroom such as family education, socio-economic status and social capital can impact on attainment, creating different starting points for pupils. Looking at progress data identifies which schools and local authorities have been the most effective at helping pupils learn (rather than which schools had children most likely to succeed when they started school).

KS2 relative attainment of pupils who use EAL compared to their English-speaking peers by school level

Relative attainment school level maps illustrate how pupils who use EAL achieve compared with their English-speaking classmates. Read alongside progress maps, this may help identify schools which would most benefit from EAL CPD.

Attainment, progress and relative attainment KS4

KS4 attainment of pupils who use EAL by local authority and by school level

For leaders who are interested in planning for secondary school level, or for FE level leaders interested in transition planning it is useful to understand the KS4 attainment of pupils who use EAL to identify where additional support, resources or CPD training should be focused.

KS4 progress of pupils who use EAL by local authority and by school level

As above (see KS2 progress), progress measures play a valuable role in identifying effective schools and authorities.

KS4 relative attainment of pupils who use EAL compared to their English-speaking peers by school level

As above (see KS2 relative attainment), relative attainment maps can be useful to identify where pupils who use EAL may be in need of more support than their first language English peers.

Conclusion

These EAL learner proficiency, attainment and progress maps provide a useful visual representation of the data relevant to pupils who use EAL that should be considered when planning support across a region, local authority or academy chain. They can provide those tasked with allocating services or planning provision across regions with indicative data of where and how need may be distributed. However, any local level data should always be supplemented by individual pupil data to plan individual support strategies for pupils who use EAL. For teachers and those who work in classrooms with pupils who use EAL, The Bell Foundation has developed an award-winning EAL Assessment Framework for Schools which can be used to assess the proficiency in English of pupils and a digital Tracker which automatically pulls through relevant support strategies for each pupil.

Related posts

    Blog: New research on EAL learners shows the importance of looking behind headline attainment data

    This post looks at research on the educational attainment of children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) undertaken by Professor Steve Strand and Dr Ariel Lindorff, University of Oxford.

    Blog: The Why and How of English Language Proficiency Assessment Explained

    In this post the author examines the importance of assessing English language proficiency and provides advice on how to undertake EAL assessment.

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