Value the learner's first language

  • Encourage the use of the learner's first language at school and home

  • Encourage writing in the learner's first language as well as English

  • Use peer support from leaners with a shared first language - see The Young Interpreter Scheme® (YIS)

  • Promote the use of first language as a tool for learning e.g. annotating work with words and phrases to transfer knowledge from one language to another

Support language with non-verbal methods of communication

  • Use a range of media in your lessons e.g. symbols, diagrams, pictures, videos, maps and graphs. LGfL schools can access LGfL Widgit Symbol Portal

  • Use mime or gestures

  • Provide non-verbal methods of response such as voting systems or mini whiteboards

Visit this page from the Bell Foundation for more information about visuals.

Focus on key vocabulary

  • Build bilingual keyword lists, make into word mats or display on walls

  • Repeat key vocabulary often, support with visual prompt

  • Use dictionaries / electronic translation tools

Take an inclusive approach

  • Surround EAL learners by good speakers of English as often as possible

  • If your school group by ability, group new arrivals in middle to upper level sets

  • Out of class interventions should be: short term, time limited with a clear language focus such as focusing on vocabulary that is being used in class work


  • Allow new arrivals to settle into the school community before carrying out assessments

  • Assess in the first language (where possible)

  • Use an interpreter or translator if possible but this is not essential (see info about translation tools)

Learning Resources

  • Use abridged texts where possible

  • Provide translation of learning materials / key texts

  • Provide individual copies of information electronically or printed; this will enable them to follow at their own pace and will be easier than trying to read from the board


  • Work should meet the cognitive ability of a learner not their language ability

  • Provide oral explanation or feedback to support written feedback

  • Use technology to record and share video or audio feedback (see videos about how to do this)

Work closely with parents and carers

  • Reassure parents of the benefits of growing up bilingual

  • Involve parents/carers their children's learning e.g. pre teaching key vocabulary at home

  • Ensure feedback is accessible to learners and their parents

Further support and resources

EAL e-learning (link):The Hampshire EMTAS EAL E Learning resources available through LGfL is a set of high-quality, cross-phase, interactive online training units based around catering for the needs of EAL learners. This resource is aimed at Governors, Inclusion managers, Teachers and TAs/LSAs. It has particular relevance for NQTs and trainee teachers.

The Young Interpreter Scheme® (YIS) (link): Provides additional support to pupils who are learning English as an Additional Language (EAL), to their families and to schools. Available to schools with an LGfL subscription.

The Bell Foundation (link): The Bell Foundation is a charity which aims to overcome exclusion through language education by working with partners on innovation, research, training and practical interventions.

NALDIC (link): Dating back to 1992, NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum) is the UK’s national subject association for EAL.

Hampshire County Council EMTAS (link): Hampshire's Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service help schools improve educational outcomes for children and young people from Black, Minority Ethnic (BME) and Traveller heritages, including those learning English as an additional language (EAL)

EAL e-learning

Online training units to support practitioners working with black and minority ethnic (BME) children and those learning English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Young Interpreter Scheme

The Young Interpreter Scheme® (YIS) provides additional support to pupils who are learning English as an Additional Language (EAL), to their families and to schools.