Number of EAL pupils increases by half a million in 15 years
Recent data by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) shows the numbers of pupils who have, or are learning, English as an Additional Language (EAL) has increased by half a million in the last 15 years.
Figure 1: Total number of pupils whose first language is other than English (1997-2013)
The chart shows an increase in the number of pupils whose first language is other than English, between the years of 1997 and 2013. The peak is shown to be in the year of 2013, after steadily increasing for 5 years.
Figure 2: Percentage of school population learning EAL (1997-2013)
Figure 2 shows that although the percentage of pupils learning EAL remains under 20%, there has been a clear increase from the years between 1997 and 2013.
The chart also shows that the percentage of primary school pupils learning EAL has been relatively higher than that of secondary school pupils.
“98% of students have English as an additional language” says teacher
“98% of students have English as an additional language” according to secondary school teacher Jo Fairclough.
Jo, a teacher in Birmingham, makes the claim after data was released to teachers at the school where she works.
“This included students who had only recently arrived to the UK and spoke little or no English” she added.
A 2012 school census found that in the West Midlands alone there were 51,810 secondary school pupils out of a total of 358,855, whose first language is known or believed to be other than English.
Jo, a history teacher in Birmingham, said: “Communication is more difficult in these situations.
“However there are EAL support teachers which help.
“The role of an EAL support teacher is to prepare relevant resources on a student’s home language.”
Schools have been directly funded by the government for EAL (English as an Additional Language) support since 1966.
However, it is reported by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) that from April 2013 an ‘EAL’ factor can be included into school funding with a condition that bilingual pupils have enrolled to English schools for a maximum of 3 years.
Alongside EAL support, Jo said: “It is always important to use visual prompts during the lesson, for example, using a pen on a PowerPoint slide to show a writing task, an ear when students needed to listen.”
She added: “I think spoken English is picked up more quickly as students are immersed in the spoken language as soon as they arrive in the UK.
“Students who are fluent in speaking English may still show issues with written tasks, so it’s important to use visual prompts.”
A 2012 survey report by the NASUWT union, found that the decrease of school funding allocated for EAL support imposed a risk to significant cuts in the number of specialist teachers and support staff.