Evidence on the impact of school closures on learners who use English as an Additional Language (EAL) showed that many students experienced learning loss and language learning loss during the period away from school. While the impact of the six-week summer break might not be as marked, some learners may find it difficult to return to the classroom and will require appropriate support.
However, labelling pupils simply as “EAL” can be too blunt a tool to understand their specific language learning needs. This is just one of the findings confirmed in a 2021 report – the fourth and last in a series investigating the relationships between EAL, proficiency in English and educational achievement at school (Strand & Lindorff, 2021).
As the report highlights, the term “EAL” does not provide any information on a pupil’s likelihood to succeed academically or what support they will need – precisely the information that schools need to target support effectively.