The Department for Education (DfE), in their annual statistical publication, define the term English as an Additional Language (EAL), as children who are exposed to a language other than English at home (DfE, 2018). As part of their research, Sood and Mistry (2011) make a comparison between the definition of children with EAL and children who are bi-lingual (communicate using English as well as another language at home), with the intention of highlighting that children with EAL may not have access to English outside of the school environment. Therefore, this makes the support they receive in school ever so crucial to their linguistic development. Arnot et al. (2014) argue that categorising pupils in this manner will only result in restriction. Consequently, Conteh (2015); Pim (2018) find it important to address that ‘children with EAL’ is not a homogenous group, in fact their only common characteristic is that English is not their first language. However, Alexander et al. (2010) emphasise that although they may be linguistically and culturally diverse when taking into consideration their learning needs, they are rather alike when compared to other pupils. Pim (2018) classifies EAL learners into three sub-groups: new-to English learners who are either entering the education system in Reception or are new arrivals to the United Kingdom (UK), which Knowles (2011) suggests may not have been out of choice, as she provides the examples of asylum seekers and refugees. Beginner EAL learners, who have either been studying in the UK for approximately two to four years or have acquired some of the English language in previous schooling, and lastly advanced EAL learners, who have been studying in the UK for several years or have received a considerable amount of English teaching in their country of origin. In addition, it is important to note that within the UK it is a statutory requirement that all pupils are able to access the curriculum, and for EAL learners this means having to simultaneously learn the contents of the National Curriculum (NC) whilst developing the language itself (Jolliffe and Waugh, 2017). This particularly causes concern for new-to-English learners who enter the system at an older age, as it is in the nature of the curriculum to build on prior knowledge.

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