Six ways to build a supportive, language-rich EAL community

Feeling scared and nervous about her first day at school, she reluctantly got ready. What was the point of going to school? She had never been to school before. Anoara Mughal is an assistant headteacher at a primary school. Here she gives her six tips to ensure these students – and their families – get the right assistance in the TES. 

She couldn’t even speak the language. How would she understand what was being said? How would she communicate? 

That five-year-old was me. 

Thousands of children unable to speak, read or write English start our schools every day, up and down the country, at various ages and stages of their education. Because of funding cuts, many schools no longer have an EAL co-ordinator. The job of integrating pupils successfully increasingly rests on the shoulders of the classroom teacher. 

This is the wrong approach. There needs to be a whole-school approach to building a language rich, EAL community.

Embed into school development plan

Parental engagement must be strategically planned and embedded into the school development plan. Initial needs must be assessed, regularly monitored and their impact evaluated and reviewed. Data collection of EAL families must include attainment and outcomes, behaviour, attitude of parents towards education, barriers to parental engagement, parental attendance and details of support networks.

Proper training 

It is imperative that schools build teacher’s knowledge and confidence in this area. Staff must be given training. There are many organisations that have information online and can provide CPD such as: NaldicHounslow Language Service and Solihull EAL services and the British Council EAL Nexus.

Read more tips Six ways to build a supportive, language-rich EAL community

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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