English as an Additional Language Policy



 Introductory Statement:

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to school staff on the delivery of English as an Additional Language (EAL) in St Joseph’s Convent NS. This policy will provide a basis of consistency and quality while allowing for flexibility in the delivery of EAL service. The aim of our EAL policy is to ensure that pupils develop the competence to use English confidently as a means of learning across the range of curriculum areas. St Joseph’s Convent NS acknowledges the right of children to communicate and socialise in the language of their home. The variety and diversity of the languages that the children bring to the classroom and to the school yard is respected and celebrated.




In St Joseph’s Convent NS, we acknowledge children’s differing culture, backgrounds and language. The EAL service enables the students whose primary language or language of the home is other than English, to develop their individual potential, both socially and academically, within the school system.


Aims and Objectives:


In St Joseph’s Convent NS, we are committed to providing appropriate provision of teaching and resources for pupils for whom English is an additional language and for raising the achievement of all pupils. The aim of our EAL provision will be to successfully bridge any gap in fluency of English between children for whom English is the language of communication in all spheres of their life and those children for whom English is simply one of the languages of communication in their lives.


We aim to:

  • Identify individual EAL learner’s needs.
  • Recognise the talents and skills they bring to the school.
  • Respond to the needs of the EAL learner.
  • Support EAL learners in accessing and engaging with the National Irish curriculum.

Organisation of Teachers:

The DES currently sanction teachers under the following titles to support the needs of pupils for whom English is an additional language

  1. EAL teacher (to teach pupils with EAL needs)
  2. GAM/EAL teacher (to teach pupils with learning needs and to teach pupils with EAL needs)
  3. RT teachers (to teach pupils with specific diagnosed learning needs. Such pupils may also have EAL needs)


In St.Joseph’s, EAL teachers, GAM/EAL teachers and RT teachers work together as part of a Support Team. Support teachers are assigned to individual classes and to withdrawal groups based on the level of need across the whole school. Due to the Support Team context in St Joseph’s Convent NS, a support teacher meeting the needs of pupils for whom English is an Additional Language, will be referred to as Support/EAL teacher in the rest of this document.

Support/EAL teachers will be assigned to work with Junior Infant and Senior Infant classes during which EAL teaching will be delivered through in-class support and withdrawal of small groups where necessary.



Role of the Support/ EAL Teacher:

The primary role of the Support/EAL teacher is to promote the pupils development of English language proficiency so that he or she can gradually gain access to the curriculum. The pupil remains the responsibility of the mainstream class teacher who will work closely with the Support/EAL teacher.

In collaboration with parents and the mainstream class teacher, the Support/EAL teacher:

  • Identifies pupils requiring additional language support.
  • Assesses the pupils proficiency in English using the assessments tasks from the Up and Away programme and supplementary teacher-designed tasks/assessments.
  • Devises an appropriate language programme (either in –class or withdrawal).
  • Delivers the programme.
  • Records and monitors the pupil’s progress.



Assessment of Pupil’s Needs:

Two methodologies will be used with regard to the identification of children with EAL needs.

  1. The parents will be surveyed and, if need be, interviewed with regard to the languages of communication used in their family and community. An identification of the dominant or frequent use of another language other than English means that this child will be identified as having EAL needs.
  2. The class teacher will, over the first month of school term pay particular attention to the child – to make a formal and informal assessment of the child’s English language capabilities and competencies. A draft list will be presented to the SEN Co-ordinator and the Principal, who will in turn make further formal and informal assessments before the child is identified as having EAL needs.
  3. The Support/EAL teacher will administer a selection of assessment from the Up and Away programme and teacher-designed tasks to ascertain the pupil’s level of proficiency using the English language.



Aims of Programme:

The aim of the school’s EAL programme is the development of oral, reading and writing English language competency for identified children, to a standard that is comparable to that of children for whom English is their sole language of communication and in keeping with the capability of the child.

In addition to this primary aim, the school also aims to facilitate the child in English language competence to assist in his/her integration into the life of the school and the English language community of his/her locality.

It is also expected to develop the child’s sense of self-esteem and to encourage creativity in the child. Finally, it is also aimed at professionally developing the whole school staff in competence as Support/EAL teachers.








Details of Programme:

The Support/EAL teacher will plan activities according to the EAL Template (Appendix 1) based on topics from the Up and Away programme for pupils in Junior/Senior Infants and First Class.

In St Joseph’s Convent NS, the first two years for the majority of children occur when they are in Junior Infants and Senior Infants. Due to the large volume of pupils in Junior Infants and Senior Infants requiring EAL support, the Support/EAL teacher will plan activities collaboratively with the class teachers in line with the themes outlined as part of the Language Development  programme and the EAL programme will be delivered via in-class support and withdrawal of small groups.

In accordance with Circular 15/2009, pupils who meet the criteria for EAL will receive support for his/her first two years in the Irish school system. After a pupil has received two years of EAL support, additional support may be provided. This level of support is dependent on the availability of staff in the school and an annual evaluation of all the needs across the school.

EAL support in St Joseph’s Convent NS comprises of a mix of in-class support and pupil withdrawal by a teacher from the Support Team and this is determined by strategies that will best meet the needs of the pupils.

In the Infant classrooms, in-class activities will be English language activities based on the Infant Primary Curriculum. In the Junior and Senior Infant classes, the Support/EAL teacher will work primarily in the classroom, working as closely as possible with the class teacher’s timetable and classroom management strategies. As appropriate, the Support/EAL teacher will identify mixed-ability groups, EAL-pairs or individual work for work on the pre-designed activity sheet. The Support/EAL Teacher will be timetabled according to an agreed timetable. Work completed with each child shall be individually recorded according in a Pupil Progress record.

Programme Planning:

  1. Identifying EAL learners.
  2. Aiding the ‘settling down’ period.
  3. Collaboration between class teacher and Support/EAL teacher.
  4. Initial assessment (Primary School Assessment kit-Initial interview assessment for new pupils and teacher designed tasks)
  5. Devising a specific language programme for individual pupils/groups.
  6. Delivering language programme.
  7. End of year assessment/progress assessment (Primary School Assessment Kit,)


Recording and monitoring of pupils progress:

The language support teacher will record and monitor pupils progress by:

  • Initial assessment ( Primary School Assessment kit-Initial interview assessment for new pupils and teacher designed tasks)
  • Teacher observations
  • Teacher questioning
  • Pupils work samples
  • Meeting with class teacher to discuss progress both in the language support class and in the mainstream class.
  • End of year assessment/ progress assessment (Primary School Assessment Kit and/or checklists)



  • Up and Away programme by IILT
  • Primary School Assessment Kit by the department of education and skills
  • The flying start to literacy programme
  • Pupil progress record sheet
  • This list is not prescriptive or exhaustive and teachers may use additional resources for the planning and delivery of this programme.


Standardised testing:

In reference to Circular 0138 / 2006 : “Pupils may be excluded from the test if in the view of the school principal they have learning or physical disability which would prevent them from attempting the test, or in the case of newcomer pupils, where their level of English is such that attempting such a test would be inappropriate.”

It is generally accepted that pupils who have not reached level A1.3 of the language proficiency benchmarks may not be tested with standardised tests


Reference Section:


  • Circular 15/2009 Meeting the needs of pupils learning English as an Additional Language, DES
  • Intercultural Education in the Primary School, Guidelines for schools, NCCA, 2005
  • Primary School Assessment Kit, DES, 2007
  • Toolkit for Diversity in the Primary School, 2007
  • Up and Away, IILT, 2006
  • Intercultural Guidelines for Schools, INTO
  • Circular 138/2006 Supporting Assessment in the Primary School, DES


Success Criteria

It is hoped that this plan will impact positivelyon the teaching and learningin our school. The following criteria will indicate that the scheme has been successful:

  • EAL pupils will improve their acquisition and use of the English language.
  • All pupils will be fully integrated in to life of the school and participate in all activities
  • There will be an increased instance of varied language usage and cultural references within the school: artwork, displays, labels, notices, songs, poems, conversations in languages other than English
  • Teacher evaluation and assessment.
  • Feedback from pupils, parents and teachers and the school inspector.
  • Cuntais míosúila
  • Work samples or portfolios
  • Micra-T and/Drumcondra Primary Reading Test