Integrating English

Language in Learning Across the Curriculum – LILAC – is a training course developed by Australian linguistics expert and it is widely used in Australia. It trains non-specialist teachers in how to teach a functional approach to linguistics and grammar. The course breaks down the process of teaching language to pupils, and the aim is to change teachers’ classroom practice in a way that improves the academic English skills of EAL pupils, and possibly other struggling students. LILAC is an accredited and intensive course, involving four non-consecutive days of face-to-face training for teachers, with substantial amounts of reading and suggestions of many strategies to practice in between training days. In this project, Year 5 and 6 teachers will receive the full LILAC training and then some ongoing support to implement the strategies.

Why are we funding it?

The theory underpinning LILAC is “systemic functional linguistics”. This holds that explicit language teaching helps pupils’ language acquisition by giving them an understanding of linguistic structure, enabling them to make appropriate linguistic decisions. It is well-established as a theory, but there is little experimental evidence of its impact on pupil outcomes. The project is similar to a pilot delivered by Enfield Council with funding from the GLA’s London Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF). Data from this work suggests that pupils targeted with additional support from LILAC-trained teachers made more progress on writing outcomes than a school-selected control group.

This project is being funded with Unbound Philanthropy and the Bell Foundation, as part of a £2m funding round focused on raising the attainment of EAL pupils. 

How are we evaluating it?

A team from Sheffield Hallam has been appointed as the independent evaluators. The intervention will be tested as a school-level efficacy randomised controlled trial. Efficacy trials aim to test whether an intervention can work under ideal conditions (e.g. when being delivered by the intervention’s original developer). In this trial, Enfield will recruit 100 primary schools from outside the borough. Of these, 50 will be randomly allocated to have their Year 5 and 6 teachers receive the training. The evaluation will look at the impact of the programme on Key Stage 2 literacy outcomes, and the process evaluation will assess whether the programme was effective at improving teachers’ language knowledge.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in Spring 2019.