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John Donne Primary School

John Donne Primary School

EAL Policy


English as an Additional Language (EAL) Policy


Here at John Donne Primary School we have a high percentage of children who have English as an Additional Language (EAL): currently around 37 percent.  The majority of EAL pupils are from migrant or refugee families who often arrive to our school with little or no English. We understand that learning a new language takes time and that EAL pupils may take up to 7-10 years to become fluent in the academic language required for full, independent engagement with the National Curriculum. We recognise that pupils with EAL make the best progress when they are educated together with their peers, therefore, we use a whole-school approach to ensure their needs are met and outstanding progress is achieved by all pupils. We aim to build on children’s previous experiences and value what knowledge they can bring into the classroom. We aim to value and celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the school and its community.

General Aims and Objectives

The best progress in language learning is made when all individuals involved in the education of a pupil with EAL work closely together with the pupils and their parents. We view bilingualism and multilingualism as an achievement which is valuable and enriching.

New Arrivals

At our school we provide a welcoming admission process for the induction of new arrivals to our school community and offer them the support they need to adjust to their new circumstances and acquire English language skills across the curriculum. We aim to facilitate the induction into the life of the school of new arrivals and strive to develop good home / school / community links. We recognise that many newly arrived pupils go through a “silent” period when they are watching, actively listening and getting used to the new language. Teachers and support staff prepare the class to be welcoming to the new pupil and set up a buddy support system, which may include a pupil who shares the new arrival’s home language. We aim to ensure that our written and spoken communication with families and with the community is effective through the use of plain English, translators and interpreters.

We emphasise the importance of bilingualism and encourage parents and pupils to keep improving their first language at home. To support this, we provide resources such as dual language books and language dictionaries.

Advanced English Learners

We recognise that some pupils might seem fluent speakers of English as they have fully developed their social communication skills in English. However, we understand that acquiring academic language fluency takes time. Therefore, we use a whole school approach in order to support our advanced bilingual learners by planning and scaffolding activities to suit all of our pupils needs.

Planning and resources

As part of our induction procedure we aim to find out the extent of former education and whether the child is literate in the home language. In our planning we take account of the pupil’s stage of English acquisition and how this impacts on the pupil’s ability to access the curriculum. We recognise that EAL is not a disadvantage and does not classify as SEN.

We provide a wide range of dual language books, dictionaries and other resources to help the progress of EAL learners.

Teaching and Learning

Planning for bilingual learners will identify the demands of the national curriculum and provide differentiated opportunities matched to individual EAL pupils’ needs. Planning is shared with support staff.

Key features of language, which are necessary for effective participation, are identified.

These might be key words, certain patterns of grammar or uses of language.

Classroom activities have clear learning objectives and appropriate support and resources are deployed to ensure that pupils are able to participate in lessons. Staff review groupings and seating arrangements to ensure that EAL learners have access to strong English language peer models.



Staff use support strategies to ensure curriculum access:

· Collaborative group work

· Enhanced opportunities for speaking and listening

· Effective role models of speaking, reading and writing

· Additional verbal support-repetition, alternative phrasing, peer support

· Additional visual support, e.g. posters, objects, non-verbal clues, pictures, demonstration, use of gesture, etc.

· Bilingual resources, e.g. dictionaries, on-line support, bilingual staff/pupils, texts, key word lists.

· Writing frames, directed activities related to texts.

· Opportunities for role play

· Pupils receive regular feedback from staff

· Opportunities are taken to focus on the cultural knowledge explicit or implicit in texts

· Discussion is provided before and during reading and writing activities.

Assessment and Record Keeping

We recognise that bilingual EAL learners can make rapid progress in acquiring English but also that to be fully competent in the use of academic language for learning can take up to ten years.

New arrivals are given time to settle in during which they are assessed formally and informally to build up a profile of what they already know and what strategies might be needed to accelerate learning.

All newly arrived children participate in the Induction program which is run by the EAL co-ordinator. In class support is provided to EAL pupils according to needs, which is determined through monitoring of progress. Children’s speaking and listening levels are assessed termly using the NASSEA EAL steps.

Special Educational Needs and More Able, Gifted and Talented Pupils

The school recognises that most EAL pupils needing additional support do not have SEN needs. However, should SEN needs be identified during assessment, EAL pupils will have equal access to school SEN provision.

Similarly, the school recognises that there may be EAL pupils who are more able, gifted or talented even though they may not be fully fluent in English.

Staff Development

The school will enable all staff to undertake professional development to ensure that provision for EAL pupils is appropriately delivered and co-ordinated.

The School Development Plan will incorporate action plans and reviews relating to raising the achievement of minority ethnic/EAL pupils.


The Role of the EAL Coordinator

The EAL Coordinator is responsible for developing in-house support systems, maintaining a register of EAL children, monitoring progress, attending relevant INSET and motivating and supporting school colleagues as appropriate with resources and advice.