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Secondary good practice examples

Classroom practice

•   Collaborative learning

•   Peer-based learning

•   Using project-based activities

•   Barrier games

•   Dictogloss

•   Extensive use of IT facilities

•   Using scaffolding and examples to facilitate language production (writing or speaking)

•   Exposing learners to good models of social and academic language

•   Giving clear, non-complicated instructions

•   Promoting social interaction

•   Using visual resources to enhance context – graphs, knowledge organizers, mind-maps, posters, videos etc.

•   Actively using language blending tasks where pupils have an opportunity to use English and their mother tongue to complete the task

•   DART activities (matching, sorting, labelling, ordering, recounting)

•   Emphasizing study skills to facilitate independent work

•   Encouraging KS4 pupils to take language GCSE in their mother tongue, if possible (see more information below – GCSE Community Languages)

•   Providing late KS4 arrivals with an opportunity to take Functional Skills qualification if a GCSE award appears to be out of reach (see more information below – Functional Skills Qualifications)

•   For other EAL-friendly teaching strategies, see The Bell Foundation Great Ideas page

Assessment of pupils learning through EAL

Two reports from the Bell Foundation published in 2018 and 2020 found that assessing a pupil’s stage of ‘Proficiency in English’ and using the results to identify next steps and plan provision is key to ensuring the progress and attainment of EAL pupils, particularly those operating at DfE Stages A (new to English), B (Early acquisition) and C (Developing competence).

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.  To register and download the Bell Foundation framework, click here. The excellent “Classroom Support Strategies: Working with EAL learners in secondary settings” can also be downloaded free from the same site.                                                                                                                                                                                  

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 Welcome Profile template here (Welcome Profile). For versions in other languages – contact your local EMA Advisory Teacher. (contact details page)

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.

GCSE Community Languages

There are many reasons for maintaining and developing the first language. In addition to building self-esteem and a positive sense of identity, research shows high levels of proficiency in more than one language have cognitive benefits for learners and can accelerate the learning of additional languages.

In promoting and valuing other languages, West Sussex schools contribute to the excellent results in GCSE examinations in a number of community languages, thus enabling many of our bilingual young people to achieve their full potential.

Taking a qualification in the pupil’s home language at GCSE provides an additional opportunity for pupils to achieve excellent results and better prospects for the future.

Want to know more?

The EMTAS Team provides guidance to schools and pupils regarding GCSEs in Community Languages.  To discuss, please contact the EMA Advisory Teacher in your area.

Further information regarding GCSE Community Languages can be found here:


Functional Skills Qualifications

Functional Skills qualifications may be considered as an alternative to GCSE for EAL pupils who either arrived in the UK late in KS4 or who find a standard GCSE qualification too hard to access. Functional Skills qualifications (English, Maths and ICT) may be taken at a number of levels and teachers are able to pitch the qualification to suit a learner’s needs.

Further information regarding Functional Skills qualifications may foundhere

To discuss Functional Skills as an option for EAL pupils in your school, please contact the EMA Advisory Teacher in your area.

For information on EMTAS First Language Assessments – please see our First Language Assessment page

Last updated 15 October 2020

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