EAL pupil numbers continue to grow
The publication of the January 2010 School Census information provide further evidence of the trend towards globalisation or super-diversity within our schools.The provisional 2010 statistics indicate that there are now a little over 900,000 learners of EAL in our primary, secondary and special schools and the figures reveal a sharp rise in secondary aged EAL learners. These learners now comprise 11.6 percent of secondary school pupils compared to 11.1 a year ago. Primary aged EAL learners comprise 16 percent of the overall primary school population. Ethnicity figures from the census illustrate that 'Any Other White Background' is the second largest category of pupils numbering 243,590 compared to 231,380 Pakistani heritage pupils and 163,770 Indian heritage pupils.
Information on the growth of EAL numbers over time can be found in the research and statistics section of the NALDIC website.
An interesting article in the TES magazine (02.07.10.) points out the wide variation that exists between areas. Only Tower Hamlets and Slough have more EAL primary learners on roll than mothertongue English speakers. In contrast many authorities have fewer than 1 in 50 EAL learners in their primary schools.
The TES article concludes that
‘The Government’s proposed pupil premium may well take the needs of multi-language schools into account when allocating funds. Teacher trainers probably ought to spend more time considering how to train primary school teachers to cope with the demands of multilingual urban classrooms, where 20 or more languages might be spoken. Even in authorities where the overall numbers of pupils who have a first language other than English are low, there can be individual schools where a concentration of children speaking many different languages can enrich the school and pose a challenge at the same time’.