EAL in the mainstream classroom

This programme aims to support EAL pupils in the mainstream classroom. It is designed to build expertise and capacity among classroom teachers so they can provide the best teaching and learning for EAL pupils, so reducing the need for specialist support. Classroom teachers will be provided with training in how to plan lessons with EAL pupils in mind, develop specific resources, and differentiate between pupils with different language skills. At the core of approach is a focus on academic language, and the training would support classroom teachers’ use and understanding of grammar, core vocabulary, and spoken language, which are key to helping EAL pupils within a whole class context, and which are also likely to have benefits for children more broadly.

Why are we funding it?

A partnership of Challenge Partners, Lampton School, and Hounslow Language Service has together developed five training modules aimed at teachers at different levels of expertise (including trainee teachers, Teaching Assistants, and experienced teachers), which have been piloted with 58 schools over the last year. Evidence from the pilot evaluation for the London Schools Excellence Fund found that all teachers reported increased levels of confidence and a wider repertoire of skills used in the classroom to support EAL students. Pupil surveys also showed that students developed their confidence in speaking in class as a result of the interventions designed by course participants. The approach is now ready to be tested more widely using a Randomised Controlled Trial.

How are we evaluating it?

A team from the University of York will conduct the evaluation. During the development phase, York will provide formative feedback to assess evidence of promise, feasibility, and readiness for trial. They will also explore measures to be used in the main trial.

The main trial will be structured as a two-armed RCT involving 100 schools. Schools will be randomised to either receive the training or to act as a business as usual control group. The evaluation will look at the impact of the approach on GCSE results and a measure of language fluency.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in spring 2020.