Junior School EAL Policy


At Sheffield Girls’ Infant and Junior School we encourage and expect all our pupils to achieve the highest possible standards and to fulfil their potential. We aim do this by treating each child as an individual, taking account of their life experiences and their particular needs. Some of our pupils have particular learning requirements which are linked to their progress in learning English as an Additional Language (EAL). It is important that we remember that children who are learning English as an additional language have skills and knowledge about language similar to monolingual English speaking children and that their ability to participate in the full curriculum may be in advance of their communicative skills in English


An EAL pupil is a pupil whose first language is not English. This encompasses pupils who are fully bilingual and all those at different stages of learning English. EAL pupils may be:

  • Newly arrived from a foreign country and school;
  • Newly arrived from a foreign country but an English speaking school;
  • Born abroad, but moved to England at some point earlier in their childhood;
  • Born in the UK, but in a family where the main language is not English.

EAL pupils will need varying levels of provision.

The School Context

The majority of bilingual pupils at Sheffield Girls’ Infant and Juniors School are fluent in English when they join, have been deliberately brought up as bilingual by their parents, or in fact count English as their first language whilst being fluent or semi fluent in another family language. Staff are aware that EAL needs may ‘surface’ as more competent pupils progress in their education. Often this is related to cultural understanding. In some cases, pupils will have no language support needs during their time at the school. However, the staff realise that EAL provision is still relevant in terms of celebrating these pupils’ abilities. In the instances when pupils join the school as non-English speakers or with a beginning level of EAL the school will provide EAL provision as it seems best to support the child to achieve their individual fullest potential.


The aims of this EAL policy are:

  • To define the school’s procedures regarding identifying EAL and providing support;
  • To define the nature and level of school support for EAL pupils, including pastoral support, and the relationship with parents;
  • To define the overall organisation and management of EAL provision in the school.

EAL Key Objectives

Identification - The first step in providing the appropriate level of support for EAL pupils is to identify the EAL cohort. At Sheffield Girls’ Infant and Junior School we use a number of approaches to identification.

Identification on Entry - this information can in some cases be limited, however it will provide a starting point from which the class teacher can seek further information from the parents, the pupil, or via monitoring. This information will be available from a number of sources:

  • From the registrar via conversations with parents or the application form;
  • From previous schools;
  • From the pupil and/or the parents.

Identification Post-entry - This approach can also help to identify bilingual pupils whose first language is English. The school’s MFL teachers carry out a language audit across the school, where girls are asked what other languages they speak. Any relevant information is followed up by the class teacher with the pupil and/or parents.

Assessment - In order to determine the most relevant level of support, the school assesses EAL pupils’ language and other competencies. The assessment method used is guided by the information gathered from the identification procedures and teacher’s observations. Pupils who are fully literate in English tend not to require specific assessment and are assessed with their cohort. If aspects do emerge from these assessments, this will be highlighted by the class teacher in the termly pupil progress meetings, or beforehand to the Head and SENCO. The progress of such pupils is kept under review as the school realises that as the cognitive demand of the curriculum increases, issues may arise and provision may be required at this later stage.

Pupils who are identified as needing EAL support will be assessed using the PIRA reading test used by the school as a termly assessment of reading. A writing assessment is also used as a norm by the school, and is assessed using a set criteria which generates a level. These tests are used as a comparative against the standard of a native English speaking pupil. Speaking and Listening are assessed by the class teacher, who will look for the level of vocabulary, grammar and syntax used by the pupil again in comparison with that expected from a native English speaking pupil. From this data, the SENCO in conjunction with the Head, Class Teacher, pupil (if appropriate) and parents will put into place a programme of support individualised towards the pupil and targeted to their specific needs.

Identifying SEN in EAL Pupils – As with all of our pupil who do not make anticipated progress or show gaps in areas of their learning, the school will explore the possibilities of learning difficulties. The class teacher, along with the SENCO, will observe and look for evidence of SEN, and then if founded, will engage with the parents to prepare a support plan. This will work in conjunction with the EAL plan. Possible triggers in EAL pupils which might cause for SEN concern are:

  • Language acquisition progress below the expected norm;
  • An unusually slow rate of work compared to peers;
  • Little response to teacher or peer intervention;
  • Poor listening and attention skills;
  • A gap between cognitive ability tests and reading age;
  • An inability to acquire basic number concepts;
  • Parents expressing concern over progress;
  • Difficulty in subjects that are less language dependent;
  • Processing speed concerns;
  • Emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Identifying More Able and Talent (MAT) in EAL Pupils – Identification of MAT pupils can be affected and possibly overlooked by the language barrier. The school is committed to providing enrichment and extension activities for all of its MAT pupils. Teacher observations will often highlight actual or potential ability in EAL pupils, and a referral will be made for entry on the MAT register. This is held by the Head of Infant and Junior School. An action plan which looks to provide targeted extension and enrichment for MAT pupils is then put into place.

EAL ProvisionThe school recognises that language support is best provided within the classroom wherever possible, as time out of subject lessons may cause pupils to fall behind in the curriculum. More importantly, we acknowledge that the curriculum offers an ideal platform for language learning, as it provides pupils the chance to practise all four language skills with peers and adults, using the curriculum to provide a meaningful context and cognitive challenge. Work as a norm is differentiated and all pupils will access challenge levels of their choice; with EAL pupils having differentiated works suitable to their needs. They will also have a variety of resources available in the classroom, including dictionaries, electronic devices for translation and native language access, as well as specific resources.

Further guidance for specific teaching strategies and a teacher checklist for ‘How EAL Friendly is Your Lesson’ are available on Oracle.

Teachers recognise that children’s thinking and speaking in their home language can be a positive part of the learning process. In particular, we encourage the use of home language for content learning, preparatory discussion and the development of new concepts. The classroom environment will seek to provide ample opportunities for pupils to hear, read and access good models of a range of styles and registers of English.

The ‘Working with EAL Students in your Classroom’ resource can be found on Oracle and is a useful awareness raiser and discussion document.

For many of our EAL pupils a language enriched classroom with personalised support will allow them to thrive, without further intervention. Others however we recognise may require additional help. This might take the form of additional language learning sessions, enrichment activities or academic mentoring incorporating target setting. Regardless, all support is logged by the teacher or learning assistant, and when specific intervention is necessary this is in conjunction with a targeted learning action plan overseen by the SENCO.

Record Keeping and Monitoring – The school SENCO keeps an EAL register with key information about the pupils. There is also a flag attached to pupils’ individual SIMs record which alerts members of staff that the pupil has EAL, but does not specify the level of provision or specific interventions. The EAL specialist teacher liaises directly with the class teacher to set targets and follows the curriculum jigsaws, to ensure that her work with the pupil mirrors and supports what they are learning in class. The SENCO then meets with the EAL specialist teacher prior to Pupil Progress Meetings so that feedback on progress can be given and recorded. Regular contact occurs between the class teacher and EAL specialist teacher in between times to ensure that targets are still appropriate.

An Individual Intervention Record is completed after each support session by the EAL specialist teacher, this electronic log shows the support given against the targets, and is used to monitor progress and inform future strategies and targets, ensuring key information transfers at transition points.

Pastoral Support – Pastoral support is a priority for all members of staff in the school. The school recognises that EAL pupils have pastoral as well as academic needs, and aims to support their wellbeing and social integration alongside their linguistic and academic progress. The nature of support will naturally depend on the individual, but strategies used might include providing a buddy who speaks the same language, increasing staff awareness of culturally specific influences and traditions (through training), nominating a specific staff member for pastoral support, and encouraging the pupil to join in clubs and activities.

Creating an Inclusive Ethos – Sheffield Girls’ Infant and Junior School celebrates the cultural diversity of our community and strives to create opportunities for this to shine. Through assemblies, our enrichment programme and curriculum we highlight aspects of culturally diversity and inclusion. Teachers take the opportunity to integrate other cultures and languages into their schemes of work such as use of instruments from different cultures in music, stories from around the world in English, or examining different cultures’ histories. We strive to create opportunities for bilingual pupils to show what they can do and use this is a positive way – such as during our International Culture Day. School assemblies highlight global events, religious and cultural festivals (such as Chinese New Year, International Mother Language Day) and the creative arts to enhance awareness of other cultures and how they have enriched our own.

Engaging Parents

The school acknowledges the importance of parental consultation and engagement in providing EAL support for pupils. At all levels of intervention, we will strive to involve parents as well as keep them informed of strategies, set targets and progress. We will look to provide resources so that support can take place at home, but also acknowledge that parental EAL needs might necessitate that translators are present in meetings, or that written communications are in the native language, or at least help is sought in making certain parents fully understand the interventions.

Roles and Responsibilities for Management of Provision

Michelle Bates is the whole school SENCO and has direct line management responsibility for the EAL specialist teacher, and oversees the support given by the learning assistants. While Mrs Bates has overall responsibility for the EAL register, EAL is regarded as a whole school responsibility, with all staff having a part to play in making provision for pupils.

Policy Review

This policy is regarded as a working document and kept under constant review by the Head of Infant and Junior School and SENCO. All staff are aware of this and information and updates are shared. Our whole school approach to EAL implies that this policy is read in conjunction with the policies and procedures contained in:

  • GDST Inclusion Policy;
  • GDST Equal Opportunities Policy;
  • Anti-bullying policy.