In the UK we are a diverse and rich mixture of people with different nationalities and languages, cultural backgrounds and differences. This is something that needs to be embraced, but also considered in various areas of society where different languages may be spoken, and further support and awareness has to be put in place so that accessibility is across the board and fair for everyone. 

One such area where there is a vast increase in language diversity is in schools, in particular, secondary schools. Being aware of this is important, because children need the correct support and facilities to make the most of their education, particularly if the barrier is the main vessel of understanding. Let’s take a closer look:

What Percentage Of UK Secondary School Pupils Speak English As An Additional Language? 

As it stands, around 19.3% of all pupils in England do not speak English as a first language. That accounts for over a million 5-16 year olds who are bilingual or multilingual in England who have EAL (English as an additional language), numbers that have been increasing over the last decade or so. Secondary school pupils, in particular, may struggle more because of the focus on GCSEs and exams, and the missing of earlier years where language learning and adjusting may have been easier. 

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How To Support EAL Children In UK Secondary Schools

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your educational facility is supporting EAL children is to utilise services like the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum. They have links to a huge range of resources and guidance to help you improve your EAL facilities. 

In addition, it’s also worth considering additional improvements such as the following: 

  • Adding foreign language subtitles and voice overs to any English visual or audio media 
  • Providing any written texts in the relevant languages, including website text and lesson transcriptions
  • Considering teaching candidates who are bilingual 
  • Providing resources for families to help their children learn
  • Providing resources for families to take part in English learning if they feel they want to do so

There’s no quick fix, but there are multiple routes to better educational opportunities for secondary school children who speak additional languages. In fact, with the number of EAL children likely to increase year on year, it is essential that any educational facility is on board with offering equal access to educational content so that all pupils have the chance to learn and leave school with exceptional grades. 

What Changes Will You Make To Enhance Your EAL Facilities? 

If you’re not already taking steps to improve your facilities and opportunities for EAL students, it is never too late to start. Use free resources, invest in valuable paid language services and help your students do well in their education without language serving as a barrier to their success.