As of 2021 there are over five different nationalities in the UK listed on the consensus, with many more people from various cultures, backgrounds and nationalities living in the UK.
This creates a rich and exciting mixture of language and lived experience, culture and more that is to be actively embraced. This is especially true when it comes to secondary school pupils who speak an additional language. Their additional language abilities need to be both embraced, and considered when it comes to their educational experience.
Being multilingual is a huge asset when you’re an adult. You can do foreign language voiceovers, subtitling and voice acting, you can work across the world in various high-paid jobs. None of that is a given, though, if you’re unable to access the education available to you because of a language barrier.
Did You Know Nearly 20% Of Secondary School Pupils Speak English As An Additional Language?
Around 19.3% of all pupils in England speak English as an additional language, which translates as over a million children aged between 5 and 16 who are categorised as EAL pupils. This is particularly challenging for this age of child because they are missing vital adjustment years that may be easier, to some degree, for primary EAL children. They are also working towards their GCSEs, so the language barrier can have a huge impact on their future if the correct support is not put in place.
Which Regions Have The Highest Number Of EAL Secondary School Pupils?
As it stands, London has the highest number of EAL pupils at 44.2%, this is then followed by:
- West Midlands – 21.1%
- Yorkshire and Humber – 16.3%
- East Midlands – 15.4%
- North West – 15.3%
- East Of England – 14.6%
- South East – 14%
- South West – 8.1%
- North East – 7.3%
In the regions where the numbers are higher, and particularly as London’s numbers sit at nearly 50%, lots of effort needs to be made to ensure that secondary school children are able to access education properly. Schools may take the following steps to ensure that EAL children get the best possible education:
- Utilising resources available for schools with EAL pupils
- Utilising foreign language voiceover and foreign language subtitles to make current resources accessible
- Ensure families of EAL children are supported so they can help with their childs educational needs
- Consider hiring multilingual teachers
- Teacher training to help teachers support EAL students
Realistically, all schools with EAL pupils need to be offering these kinds of services and changes to ensure that children have complete access to a great education.
Are You Ready To Enhance Your Education Facilities For EAL Secondary School Pupils?
Even with support for EAL students in place, the fact is that all schools supporting children with additional languages could do more to enhance the educational experience of their pupils. Professional paid language services, free resources, teacher training – there are so many ways to better the experience of a pupil who does not have English as their first language, so they have a real chance of finding educational success and gaining the grades they deserve.