Shaping the future

for better support of EAL children


On June 21 2017, Language@Leeds hosted a networking event to support pupils with English as an Additional Language. The event hosted over 50 stakeholders from across the region including teachers, speech and language therapists, researchers, representatives from local authorities and charitable organisations.

What happened? 

The event began with presentations from leading researchers and speech and language therapists from the Yorkshire region. Topics covered included EAL interventions, expectations for EAL speakers and speech and language referral:

  • EAL in Yorkshire and beyond (Dea Nielsen, University of York and Born in Bradford)
  • Adjusting our expectations of EAL children (Cecile De Cat, University of Leeds)
  • Interventions to support vocabulary development in children learning EAL (Silke Fricke, University of Sheffield)
  • When should an EAL child be referred to Speech and Language Therapy and what happens next? (Anne McCaffrey, Speech & Language Therapist)
  • Working with EAL pupils: successful partnerships for positive outcomes (Therese O’Sullivan, Education consultant)

The reports mentioned in the presentations are available under “Fact Finding”.

This was followed by small-group discussions on the topic of EAL support and assessment in schools. The following main points were raised for moving forward:

  • EAL children in post primary school education: There is little research for this age group and support for schools and pupils is lacking.
  • EAL training for teachers: Teachers receive little to no formal training in EAL support. EAL children are consequently often excluded from mainstream lessons or grouped with lower ability children. Teachers need to be given EAL strategies to implement into their lessons.
  • Assessment tools for EAL proficiency: These is still much to be learnt about which tools are currently used and which are seen to be the most user friendly. Please fill out our survey about EAL assessment here

Moving Forward

The purpose of the event was to begin a network of collaboration region-wide to support those with English as an additional language. We discussed future collaborations with the University and schools. There is the opportunity for local schools to host a university student to give additional support to EAL children in class, or to become a research partner with the University.

If your school may be interested in taking part in either of these schemes, please fill out an expression of interest here

If you have any resources that work well and you would like to share them, please contact

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for coming to our event. Please join our mailing list to hear about all future events and possible collaborations:


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