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Devon guidance pathway to SEN identification in bilingual pupils

1. Expression of concerns about development or progress of an EAL pupil

Every EAL pupil is different and will have their very own learning preferences, styles, strengths and areas of challenge. Be specific, state clearly the reasons for concerns.

2. Collect background information

A pupil profile should be completed to provide information on the pupil’s family and linguistic background. Gather information about the pupil’s previous educational experience, including how many years of formal education has the pupil received, length of exposure to English language, medical information, attendance record and attainment levels.

3. Collect evidence

This could be samples of work, teacher assessments, test results, observation notes, completed EAL Assessment and parents’ and pupil’s views that clearly show which areas of development or progress are causing concern. It is important to consider what teaching and learning strategies you have already used and how much support the pupil has received so far.

You can consider completing the Talking point progress checker to build an accurate picture of the pupil’s language development. This assessment can be completed alongside the pupil’s parents.

Teachers should:

  • be aware that the EAL learner may know some things in one language, but not in the other
  • be aware that there may be aspects of the curriculum that they have not experienced before
  • be aware that many EAL families may limit using their home language when they arrive in the UK
  • be aware that some EAL families may find it hard to maintain their first language
  • be aware of young children’s expectations in speaking and listening exchanges – this varies from culture to culture.

4. Analyse the supporting information and review your current provision

Using the information and evidence provided, identify the pupil’s rate of progress. Identify any factors that may be affecting the pupil’s progress. Review the current EAL provision and support.

  • Are the tasks and instructions appropriate for the pupil’s EAL Level?
  • Is the content of the curriculum culturally familiar?
  • Has the pupil received appropriate EAL specialist support?
  • How long has the pupil been learning English?
  • Has the pupil had the usual sensory and physical screening?
  • Are you familiar with the pupil’s attendance?
  • Is the pupil literate in their home language?

Are there any other factors that may be causing the difficulties? For example, cultural shock, stress related to recent experiences such as war, bullying, family circumstances, house move or trauma.

5. Complete the EAL/SEN checklist

Complete the EMTAS EAL/SEN checklist to unpack any possible additional underlying issues that might be causing the difficulties.

6. Evaluation – identification of needs and further support plan

Outcome Plan
EAL needs only
  • Decide on appropriate interventions
  • Review your resources and current EAL practice
  • Monitor EAL progress regularly by using the EAL proficiency assessment
  • Contact EMTAS to request further support
Lack of progress due to possible SEN  

  • Make further referrals to specialist services
  • Contact SEN team
  • Monitor EAL progress regularly by using the EAL proficiency Assessment
No decision made/further investigation required
  • Use multiagency approach
  • Gather more specific information and evidence
  • Request a home language assessment by completing our HLA referral form
  • Monitor EAL progress regularly by using the EAL Proficiency Assessment