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EAL Assessments

The research recommended that proficiency in English should be evaluated using an assessment framework designed for the purpose, such as the NASSEA Framework and The Bell Foundation EAL Assessment Framework. The excellent “Classroom Support Strategies: Working with EAL learners in primary settings” can also be downloaded free from the same site.                                                                                          

For assessing the proficiency in English of children learning through EAL in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), The Bell Foundation recommends using the ‘Listening’ and ‘Speaking’ sections of the EAL primary school assessment alongside EY assessment systems for ‘Communication, Language and Literacy’. See: “Guiding principles and strategies for practitioners working with learners who use EAL in EYFS.  The guidance states that it is “only development in communication, language and literacy that is expected to be assessed in English only.”

As part of the assessment of EAL learners and in order to build a profile of the ‘whole child’ we also recommend completing a ‘Welcome Profile’ during a parent/carer interview. The Welcome Profile establishes language and educational background, identifies gaps in educational provision and levels of literacy. It also provides an opportunity to explore any SEN issues.   You can download an example of a Welcome Profile template from the Welcome Profile page of Tools for School. For versions in other languages – contact your local EMA Advisory Teacher.

If you would like to discuss the framework, the West Sussex Welcome Profile, how to make the best use of these tools or any other issues around assessment of EAL learners, please contact the EMA Advisory Teacher in your area.


The process of identifying potential SEND for a child who has English as an additional language (EAL), whether they are newly arrived or born here, can be complex. There is no single SEN assessment that takes into account all factors (linguistic and cultural) that will provide a definitive answer. There is also much research and commentary regarding the validity of assessments both in the first language (L1) and English (L2) and their role in identification of SEND. Some examples of assessments are found in the download area on this page.

Last updated 30 January 2023

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