EAL and Special Educational Needs
An issue of concern for teachers of bilingual pupils
When a child who is learning English as an additional language makes slow progress in school, it is difficult to tell whether the delay is caused because they are not confident using the language of the school or because they have “real” learning difficulties independently of the language difference. Similarly there is often concern that the potential and ability of pupils learning EAL may be overlooked by provision for 'gifted and talented' pupils.
Although a great deal has been written on the assessment and teaching of children with reading difficulties and dyslexia, it very rarely refers to EAL learners. At the same time publications on learning to read in a second or third language very rarely refer to learning difficulties. Teacher guidance tends to be about how to separate the lack of English from SEN; they don't say much about what a teacher needs to do if actually presented with SEN and EAL together in the same pupil.
This section brings together some short guides and practical resources for teachers to support planning and provision for bilingual learners who may also have special educational needs.