‘EAL’, what does it mean and how can we support pupils with EAL

EAL, stands for ‘English as an Additional Language’, or in other words when someone’s first language is not English. According to the most recent report on Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics from Gov.UK, released in June 2021 there are over 1.6 million EAL pupils in schools all over England, accounting for almost a fifth of all pupils in the UK, at 19.2%[1]. As the number of EAL pupils has grown over the recent years, teachers are likely to be teaching classes where there are multiple first languages, resulting in some EAL pupils having difficulty understanding and speaking English initially. This can also create challenges for educators, who may struggle to engage pupils who have EAL due to the language barrier, especially when it comes to the wider curriculum.

Diversity in schools all over the UK is something to be celebrated, however, it is important for EAL pupils to become proficient in English in order to give them as many opportunities as possible later in life. Students who have English as an additional language can be proficient in English and may already be on a similar level to children who have English as a first language, however, others may struggle with learning English and ultimately becoming proficient. A report on Educational Outcomes of Children with English as an Additional Language, by The Bell Foundation, The Education Policy Institute and Unbound Philanthropy in 2018, found that becoming proficient in English can be affected by a multitude of different factors, including native language, as well as what age they arrived in the UK[2].  Further to this it’s been shown how important proficiency in English is to student’s outcomes, with the Department of Education report on English proficiency of pupils with English as an additional language, released in 2018, stating that there is a ‘strong relationship between a pupil’s English proficiency level as recorded in year 11 and their attainment 8 score at the end of key stage 4’[3]. Further to this, the report also states that those who are recorded as being new to English, received an attainment 8 score of 14.2, whereas those who are fluent in English recorded 53.5[4]. Therefore, demonstrating the importance in considering how we can best support EAL pupils, to ensure they are achieving good attainment in their GCSE’s and enabling them to open up their pathways later in life.

Platforms, such as FlashAcademy, a partner of NAHT can help to offer a solution and support to EAL pupils, as well as teachers. Providing an easy-to-use platform that helps to break down language barriers, through games and interactive activities the app is perfect for helping students with EAL, as well as providing an excellent tool for teachers to support students and ensure that they become proficient in English, enabling them to learn curriculum content. The platform teaches students grammar, day-to-day vocabulary, curriculum vocabulary, idioms, phonics and WOW words, to name just a few! FlashAcademy has 45+ home languages available for selection, enabling students from all different backgrounds to access the platform.

Further to this, it also helps teachers to ensure that their pupils are learning English in a fun and engaging way, as well as helping them save time and ensure that students are boosting their fluency. The platform provides a digital EAL proficiency assessment tool, to check pupils’ proficiency, track their progress over time and assess newly arrived pupils. It can also be used to set students work both in person and remotely, ensuring pupils can continue to become learning superstars, both in the classroom or at home.


Find out more about FlashAcademy here or book your free trial today and receive your complementary resource pack, exclusive to NAHT members here.



[1] “Schools, pupils and their characteristics,” Academic Year 2020/21, Gov.UK, last modified July 27th, 2021, https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics
[2] “Educational Outcomes of Children with English as an Additional Language”, The Education Policy Institute, The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy, The Bell Foundation, accessed August 23, 2021, https://www.bell-foundation.org.uk/eal-programme/research/educational-outcomes-of-children-with-english-as-an-additional-language/
[3] ‘English proficiency of pupils with English as an additional language’, Transparency data, Gov.UK, accessed August 24, 2021, English proficiency: pupils with English as additional language – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
[4] ‘English proficiency of pupils with English as an additional language’, Transparency data, Gov.UK, accessed August 24, 2021, English proficiency: pupils with English as additional language – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)