English project supports UK teachers of young EAL learners

Thursday 02 October 2014
  •          EAL Nexus project targets teachers of one million young learners with English as an additional language (EAL) in UK mainstream education
  •          New innovative website dedicated to supporting young EAL learners providing teachers with curriculum-based resources and engaging directly with EAL learners, their parents and communities

 A new English project is supporting the needs of teachers to develop skills for teaching young learners with English as an additional language (EAL) in UK schools.

The EAL Nexus project, funded by the European Integration Fund, the British Council and The Bell Foundation, has launched a new website to support teachers in their preparation for educating EAL learners.

The dedicated site is the first of its kind for UK teachers and contains an accessible database of materials to help teach EAL learners. The materials follow the different school curricula across the UK and come with comprehensive notes for teachers to ensure EAL learners in mainstream education are better supported.

With over one million EAL learners in UK schools, research carried out for the government in 2013 revealed that teaching these students is the area of work newly qualified teachers say they feel least equipped for. The project aims to directly tackle that issue by engaging with learners and teachers on the EAL Nexus site, as well as through a series of workshops and seminars. The seminar series is being developed in collaboration with The Bell Foundation and the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC).

Melanie Griffin, EAL Nexus Co-ordinator for Teacher Development at the British Council, said: “With over one million EAL learners in UK schools, it is important that projects like EAL Nexus are in place to ensure these learners and their teachers are well supported.

“It is fantastic to be sharing our expertise in English LanguageTeaching to bring this programme to EAL learners and their teachers across the UK. Our hope is that in creating quality online teaching materials and providing support through the wider EAL Nexus project, teachers across the country will feel better prepared to teach EAL learners in their classrooms. Not only should the project allow us to make strong progress in developing the UK’s EAL sector but will also help ensure that EAL learners feel included within the educational setting and wider community.”

Diana Sutton, Director of The Bell Foundation, said “We are delighted to be a funder of this project.  Having a one stop shop for EAL learners and teachers is an important step forward making it easier for good practice to be shared between schools and communities.”

The materials available on the EAL Nexus website are expected to reach further than the teachers and young EAL learners, with parents and members of migrant communities also being encouraged to sign up to the website or join the mailing list. The website includes a section for parents with information on the UK education systems and how to support their children through school in the UK.

The project will also work closely with teachers and other school staff in 24 pilot schools across the UK to improve understanding of the needs of EAL teaching and improve school provisions for EAL learners. This includes EAL teaching toolkits and modules of teacher development being produced for schools and a series of workshops for teachers on best practice for educating EAL learners.

The new EAL Nexus site is accessible at http://eal.britishcouncil.org/

The British Council will be hosting a launch event of the site on Friday 3 October which will be available to watch via live streaming. More information at https://focusoneal.eventbrite.co.uk

Notes to Editor

For more information on the British Council and EAL Nexus site, please contact Kristen McNicoll in the British Council Press Office on +44 (0)207 389 4967 / kristen.mcnicoll@britishcouncil.org

For more information on the seminar series with The Bell Foundation and NALDIC, please visit: http://britishcouncilealnexus.eventbrite.co.uk

Research referred to on Newly Qualified Teachers is from the Newly Qualified Teachers Annual Survey 2013: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/newly-qualified-teachers-annual-survey-2013

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publically-funded grant provides less than 25 per cent of our turnover which was £781 million in 2012/13. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.

About The Bell Foundation

The Bell Foundation was established in 2012 with a mission to change lives and overcome exclusion through language education.   The Foundation works in two thematic areas: children with English as an additional language and offenders with literacy and language needs in the UK. The Foundation works in partnership, in the UK, to create opportunities and change lives through language education for excluded individuals and communities, with the aim of changing practice, policy and public opinion through evidence. www.bell-foundation.org.uk. For more information on The Bell Foundation, follow http://twitter.com/BellFoundation.

About NALDIC

NALDIC is the national subject association for English as an additional language (EAL). Since its launch in 1993 NALDIC has provided a professional forum for teachers working with EAL and bilingual learners. Over the years, the association has worked to promote the professionalism of  EAL teachers and the needs of EAL learners, and to disseminate  good practice and research reflecting effective  teaching and learning of EAL learners and bilingual learners. For more information, please visit:www.naldic.org.uk or keep in touch through http://twitter.com/naldic.