Whole School Planning


The best way to ensure EAL learners feel welcome, safe, secure, and supported is to practise home language-integration across the school.

Show, through your words and actions, that all the languages of all the students in your school are equal in value and status.


Find out who each EAL learner is, where they come from, which languages they speak and to whom. 



Survey languages spoken in the school.


Know the Cultural Profile of each class and each year. Create a database of nationalities and languages of all students. 



Ensure that the home languages of all students are visible. 


Multilingual signs and displays give a strong message that all languages are welcomed and valued.


Invite EAL learners to create multilingual signs for the school and classroom.


This is an effective way of ensuring that EAL learners are included in decision making and are active in the life of the school.


These signs in turn send a message that all languages are welcome and a normal part of school life. 


Schoolslinks offer a selection of free downloadable multilingual signs schools may find useful.




Ensure classroom and library materials reflect all faiths, cultures and languages.


This sends out a clear signal that the school invites and respects all languages and cultures and alerts visitors to the school’s ethos and respect for diversity.


Languages Connect School Libraries Home Language Book Funding is a great way for schools to purchase Home language and dual language books and resources.


Learn more here: http://bit.ly/libraryscheme   




Arrange a tour of the school with first language support for new EAL learners and parents.


If there are other students in the school who speak the same home language allow them to lead a tour of the school. This shows you really value bilingualism.



Home-School Communication


Home-School Communication needs to be informative and mindful of the needs of EAL learners and their families. The most important thing schools can do is communicate with families in a language they can understand.

Every family has their own preferred way to communicate.


Talk to parents to find out their communication preferences and needs.


Ask them what support they would find helpful.


Google Forms can be used to create a Home-School Communication Survey that families can translate.



Using Google Forms to Communicate with Families



You may find it helpful to use translated  letters when communicating with parents. 


It is a good idea to photocopy the translated letter onto the back of the original letter so that the parent receives both versions.


Below is a tutorial on how to use the translation tools within Google Docs for Home-School Communication.


Using Translate Tool in Google Forms to Communicate with Families



Look at the EAL learner’s ability in all areas.


Place the student in a group where cognitive demand is high and where the other students will be sensitive to their needs. 


Even though the EAL learner may have limited proficiency in English, their writing and grammar skills in their home language may be on par with the others.



Encourage EAL Learners to attend MFL class.


Language class is the one area of the curriculum where EAL learners are on a more equal footing with the other students.



EAL learners often do well in languages as they have an increased awareness through learning English.



Share the student profile with relevant staff.


Make sure the class teacher, year head and subjects teachers are informed and prepared. 


Consider, and share any information that will be useful in supporting the student’s learning and well-being.



Prepare for a new EAL learner in different subject areas.


Inform students that a new EAL learner will be joining the class. 



Actively involving students in preparing for the arrival of a new classmate is an important step in establishing a collective commitment to ensuring an EAL learner feels included from day one.


Learn and practise how to pronounce the EAL learner’s name correctly.



Greet students in their home language.


Encourage all students to answer roll call in their home language.


Try saying goodbye and thank you to students in their home language.


Vary the language of greeting and roll call weekly, fortnightly or monthly.



Learn, talk and ask about your students’ cultures. 


Seek opportunities to incorporate EAL learners' language, country, and culture into subject lessons and projects.



Organise Classroom Buddies, Homework Buddies, Paired Reading Buddies.


Organise two or three ‘classroom buddies’. Allow the students to sit together and discuss work during lessons.


TY (or another) student with the same home language can support the new EAL learner in homework club and read home language and English texts together as part of Gaisce, work experience, or Social Justice Programme.