Our Policy Work

Learning new English was pretty hard and I didn’t know what to do at first, the words were getting even harder but then when I had some help at school it got much easier. EAL learner, BBC Newsround

The context

  • Over 5 million people in England and Wales speak English (or Welsh) as a second or additional language (ESL) – an increase of over 20% since 2011.
  • 1.77 million children in state-funded schools in England speak English as an Additional Language (EAL) – more than one in five of all pupils.

Diana Sutton


Multilingualism is a valuable asset. It opens doors to education and employment, and can unlock a wealth of untapped skills and experience, contributing to a thriving, more cohesive UK. And yet, large funding cuts and a policy vacuum has left many ESL speakers facing an uphill struggle to access the support they need and are entitled to. Language support is critical to overcoming these barriers.
Even the letter which I received from the police when they let me know the date of the court. I pretty much understood only that sentence...there were words which I never...I didn't understand it. Victim of hate crime who speaks ESL

Latest evidence

Guidance for Schools and Leaders

In Conversation – Is ESOL Fit for Purpose?

Teacher in an orange jacket stood in front of a board and clock speaking to a class of six children seated at a desk.

EAL Children and the Early Years Sector – The Best Start?

Is the criminal justice system fair to multilingual victims?