English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Meeting the needs of pupils learning English as an Additional Language (EAL)

  1. Introduction

Arising from the decisions made in Budget 2009 new arrangements are being put in place for the allocation of EAL support posts to schools. These new arrangements replace the current allocation arrangements that are set out in Circular 53/07 which is hereby rescinded.

The resources allocated to schools to meet the needs of pupils learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) are additional to the other supports and funding provided for schools. All pupils including migrant pupils (irrespective of their English language proficiency) are counted for the regular pupil teacher ratios in schools.

Creating an inclusive school environment

An inclusive school environment reflects values and affirms linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity.  It is important that schools have policies and procedures in place that promote and facilitate the inclusion of all children.  The school’s commitment to creating an inclusive school environment should be evident in the school plan, the promotion of parental involvement, the provision of equality of curriculum access, the facilitation of professional development opportunities and in whole-school and classroom practice.  Pupils should also be encouraged and facilitated to maintain a connection with their own culture and language through curricular activities and displays.

  1. The role of the EAL support teacher

EAL support teachers are appointed to assist schools in providing additional EAL support teaching for pupils.  The EAL pupil remains the responsibility of the mainstream class teacher at primary level and the subject specialist teachers at post primary level who will work closely with the EAL support teachers. In collaboration with parents and mainstream class teachers, EAL support teachers identify pupils requiring additional language support, assess pupils’ proficiency in English using the assessment materials, devise appropriate language programmes, deliver the programmes and record and monitor pupils’ progress.

They share their expertise with mainstream class teachers and assist in developing and disseminating good practice to support the development of students’ English language proficiency.

  1. Deployment of EAL support teachers within schools

It is a matter for the school authority to deploy this teacher allocation having regard to the proficiency levels of individual pupils involved and in line with their evolving needs.

The allocation of EAL support teachers is based on allowing schools flexibility in the deployment of support.  It is recommended that pupils receive additional EAL support teaching in the classroom or in timetabled EAL lessons for small groups in addition to the support they receive from the class teachers.

Clear and effective arrangements for the identification of pupils requiring support, the assessment of pupils’ levels of language proficiency, programme planning, the recording and monitoring of pupils’ progress and communication with parents are key features of effective EAL support provision. All of these features should be delineated in the school’s policy on EAL support. While duties and responsibilities vary in every school context, it is important that the roles of all school personnel in relation to meeting the needs of pupils learning English as a second language are clearly defined and understood by all.  School policy and practice should promote the sharing of expertise and good practice, and encourages communication amongst staff in order to optimise the opportunities pupils have for developing their proficiency in English.


1st and 2nd Year EAL Programme

Beginners Plan Level 1

Beginners Plan Level 2