What if English isn’t our first language?

This page can point you in the direction of websites specifically designed to give advice for parents of children learning English as an additional language. English as an additional language (EAL) is a term used to describe children whose home language differs to the language of the wider society and education system.

Topics on this page include:

General information about EAL
Guidance from speech and language professionals


General information about EAL

The link below, provided by the BBC, gives advice and support for parents of children with English as an additional language.

‘If English isn’t your family’s first language, you may worry how your child will cope in an English-speaking school.

Schools are used to helping families where English is an additional language. A recent survey found that one in seven primary school pupils learns English as an additional language.

There is lots of evidence that bilingual children can do well at school. However, they – and you as parents – will need extra help, especially in the early days’


Bilingualism Matters

BM is a centre at the University of Edinburgh studying bilingualism and language learning. Their website provides summaries of their research, an FAQ page aimed at parents, and a blog with various posts from academics on language acquisition, research and bilingualism .


The following video was created by parents for parents. This is an extract from an event organized by the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism and Bilingualism Matters@Reading at the University of Reading. Parents in the audience share their experience about effective strategies to keep up the home language with children of different ages.


video here

Multilingual  Manchester 

Your Language is a Gift is a short film that explores young children’s bilingual language development in the family setting, from the point of view of multilingual families in Manchester, UK.

click here to watch video 1

 video 2

Guidance from speech and language professionals


A blog written by two qualified NHS Speech and Language Therapists sharing their personal knowledge, and directing readers to useful resources concerning children and language development. Aimed at parents, teachers and other Speech and Language Therapists, the information spans a range of needs and ages.



Aimed at professionals, NAPLIC (National Association of Professionals concerned with Language Impairment in Children) promotes the awareness and understanding of children with difficulties in language and communication. The website includes information on their conferences, newsletters and publications.



ICAN children’s communication charity website provides information on how to help the charity, papers which review current research on language development, and blogs for parents to discuss and learn about children’s speech, language and communication.


Talking Point (ICAN)

Talking point is the subsite of ICAN, including a database of resources and a progress checker that allows parents and practitioners to review a child’s progress in communication and language. It also offers an enquiry service for parents, carers and those working with children who have questions or concerns about a child’s communication development.


http://www.talkingpoint.org.uk/enquiry-service (enquiries)


LuCiD is an organisation including over 40 researchers from Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool and the University of Manchester, investigating key questions and concerns about language development. This website includes links to their research papers, magazine articles concerning language development, blogs and various other resources for parents.





Is your child aged between 8 and 18 months? Could you help our colleagues at @LancsBabylab by taking part in an onl… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Interested in your child's sleep? We're recruiting families with 7-12 yr old children without ADHD to take part in… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

With colleagues at @LuCiD_Centre we've created these resources aimed at parents, caregivers, and early years practi… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…