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Identifying and supporting EAL learners who may also have SEN 

All teachers and practitioners should use the EAL proficiency assessment to track pupils’ progress and set language learning targets regularly.

The process of identifying potential SEN for a child who speaks English as an additional language can be quite complex. There is no single assessment that considers all factors, including linguistic and cultural factors therefore it is recommended that very careful consideration should be given to the identification of SEN in EAL. Some EAL pupils go through a silent period and every pupil needs time to acquire their additional language. Generally speaking, children learning EAL can become fluent in 1-2 years but it may take 5-7 years or longer to catch up with their peers.

When assessing EAL learners it is important to rule out medical issues. It is also crucial to work closely with parents to get their view on the pupil’s development.

If an EAL pupil is showing challenging or concerning behaviour or an inability to express themselves or not making friends or making no progress in EAL you should refer to our Devon guidance pathway to SEN identification in bilingual pupils. 

It is also important to begin a Graduated response if you have any concerns about progress or development of an EAL pupil.

If you have analysed all required information/evidence (including the EAL/SEN checklist) and reviewed your current provision and you are still concerned about the pupil’s progress, please complete an online referral form for home language assessment.

EMTAS home language assessment can provide you with a fuller picture of bilingual learners’ home language skills and enable you to make a comparison between the pupil’s levels of competence in their first language versus English.

If you have already identified SEN, then a HLA is not appropriate and you should follow the usual pathways for support and diagnosis.

Home language assessment referral form

Once we receive the completed referral form, we will analyse the information and one of our advisory teachers will contact you to arrange a home language assessment.