We are a truly global school here at Magdalen Gates Primary School, speaking over 30 languages. We are very proud of this and we celebrate all the different languages and cultures that make us so special.

This year, we are proud to say that 32% of our pupil population has English as an Additional Language. This is known in school as EAL and can be defined as follows: 

The Department of Education definition 

A pupil’s first language is defined as any language other than English that a child was exposed to during early development and continues to be exposed to in the home or community. If a child was exposed to more than one language (which may include English) during early development, a language other than English should be recorded, irrespective of the child’s proficiency in English. 

The Ofsted definition 

English as an additional language (EAL) refers to learners whose first language is not English.  These definitions therefore cover the following: 

  • Pupils arriving from other countries and whose first language is not English. 
  • Pupils who have lived in the UK for a long time and may appear to be fluent, but who also speak another language at home. These pupils are often not entirely fluent in terms of their literacy levels. 
  • Pupils who have been born in the UK, but for whom the home language is not English (e.g. Bengali children who are born in the UK, but arrive at school with very little English due to having spoken only Bengali at home and within the community) 
  • Pupils who have a parent who speaks a language other than English and the child communicates with in that language (ie. bi-lingual children) 

It is important therefore to recognise that: 

  • Children who have British citizenship can still be EAL. 
  • If parents write on their child’s admission form that the child speaks English as a first language, when it is clear that one or both of these parents is a speaker of another language, the child is very likely in fact to be EAL, and it will be necessary to check this. 

We regularly assess the children to establish their levels of fluency, as this helps us to tailor their learning experiences in the day-to-day teaching in the classroom. We also have a dedicated Educational Assistant in school who works with the children with EAL to support their acquisition of the English language. This takes the form of small group work, individual intervention and support in the classroom. The Department for Education categorises the different levels of fluency in English as below: 

If you have any questions about these definitions or if you think your child should be recorded as EAL, please contact the school office for further information.