Fund set up to improve learning for English as additional language pupils

A two million pound fund has been set up to find the best way of improving learning for pupils who speak English as an additional language (EAL).

It will fund up to five projects to be trialled and evaluated in schools. The results will help shape an evidence base of the most effective ways to improve the attainment of EAL pupils most at risk of underachievement.

The project is run by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), the Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy.

It follows research from Oxford University which found a massive variation in the results achieved by EAL pupils.

It found a number of factors which contributed to low achievement, including attending a school outside London.

Specific ethnic groups, such as Black African and Pakistani, had markedly lower outcomes and pupils arriving in England during key stage one were on average 12 months behind their peers.

It also highlighted a lack of quality evidence, which the new funding aims to address.

Dr Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, said: “Improving the attainment of students without English as a first language enables them to thrive and engage with the community and country they live in.

“In order for schools and teachers to do this most effectively, it’s absolutely vital that they have access to high-quality evidence of what does and doesn’t work.”

The evaluations will be added to the Sutton Trust-EEF teaching and learning tool kit.

Applications are wanted from not-for-profit groups, such as mainstream primary or secondary schools, charities, local authorities or social enterprises.

Diana Sutton, Director of the Bell Foundation, added: “We know that average attainment figures mask a huge range of outcomes for pupils who speak a language in addition to English and that certain groups have especially poor outcomes.

“I’m delighted that together with the EEF and Unbound Philanthropy we are able to make a significant commitment to finding the best methods to improve learning for those groups most at risk of underachievement.”

Applications open today and close on October 1. For more information about applying visit https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/index.php/apply-for-funding/