Education Endowment Foundation:EAL in the mainstream classroom

EAL in the mainstream classroom

Challenge Partners
Implementation costThe cost estimates in the Toolkits are based on the average cost of delivering the intervention.
Evidence strengthThis rating provides an overall estimate of the robustness of the evidence, to help support professional decision-making in schools.
Impact (months)The impact measure shows the number of additional months of progress made, on average, by children and young people who received the intervention, compared to similar children and young people who did not.
Project info

Independent Evaluator

The Institute for Effective Education logo
The Institute for Effective Education

Developing and testing EAL training for classroom teachers at GCSE.

Schools: 100 Grant: £640,546
Key Stage: 4 Duration: 3 year(s) 2 month(s) Type of Trial: Efficacy Trial
Completed July 2019

EAL in the Mainstream Classroom was a programme delivered by a partnership of Challenge Partners, Lampton School, and Hounslow Language Service which aims to support English as an Additional Language (EAL) pupils in the mainstream classroom across different subjects. It was 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 were provided with three days of 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 the approach was a focus on academic language, supporting 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.

This project was funded with Unbound Philanthropy and The Bell Foundation, as part of a £2m funding round looking to boost attainment for EAL pupils, in the context of continuously rising rates of EAL pupils and a lack of interventions to support their learning. A pilot evaluation in 58 schools indicated that this approach was ready to be tested more widely using a Randomised Controlled Trial.

This efficacy trial found that EAL pupils in EAL in the Mainstream Classroom schools made the equivalent of one month’s additional progress, with attainment measured using GSCE science scores (either GCSE combined or the three separate science GCSEs). This result has a moderate to high security rating.

For secondary and subgroup analyses, among pupils eligible for Free School Meals, the estimated effect size for GCSE science scores was equivalent to one month’s additional progress. Pupils also made the equivalent of one month’s additional progress as measured through GCSE English Language scores, although they made the equivalent of no month’s additional progress in GCSE history scores. While these results show evidence of promise, as with any study, there is uncertainty around these results and they should be interpreted with caution. Some factors which could have limited its impact included training attendance and task completion issues, which were largely due to difficulties related to teachers’ capacity. Also, there was a lower amount of schools recruited than planned and evaluators encountered difficulty in collecting key data for EAL pupils.

The headline finding, combined with further analyses and the implementation and process evaluation, provides tentative evidence about the promise of this programme and the approach of improving the attainment of EAL pupils in mainstream classroom settings through professional development for teachers across different subjects. However, as Challenge Partners are no longer delivering the programme, the EEF has no plans for a further trial of this programme.