In the final funding arrangements for English schools for 2013 onwards, the government has announced that whilst it is maintaining its controversial '3 year funding rule' for EAL learners, local Schools Forums will be able to set different EAL factor rates for primary and secondary EAL learners.
Explaining this decision in School funding reform: Arrangements for 2013-14, the government notes that:
36. Pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) often require additional support. We have considered the evidence on how much support is needed and, as we explained in March, have decided that 3 years – from the point at which the pupil enters compulsory education in England – should be sufficient. With early intervention, pupils with EAL can achieve well, even earlier.
37. We also recognise that the cost of supporting pupils who start school in England at an older age can be considerably higher. It is for this reason that local authorities will be able to allocate one rate for EAL pupils in primary schools and a different rate for EAL pupils in secondary schools.
We are disappointed that the government has not taken to heart expert advice on how long it takes pupils to learn English within the curriculum and has not recognised the negative impact of removing EAL funding from huge numbers of bilingual learners just as they are encoutering the academic language they need to be successful in the curriculum. However we recognise that the move to allow a primary and secondary EAL rate will be welcomed by many secondary schools with signficant numbers of newly arrived EAL learners.