“…nationality should not be conflated with EAL proficiency. They are separate issues…”
NALDIC understands that EAL proficiency is a key factor in terms of access to the school curriculum and the new requirement for the collection of EAL proficiency levels is welcomed. However, in the current official guidance to schools there seems to be an unhelpful conflation of two issues:
- pupil nationality
- EAL proficiency level.
The relevant passage is:
Section 5.3.5 “…to effectively measure the impact of foreign nationals on the education sector. This new information, along with the data collected on country of birth and proficiency in English, will help bridge that data gap and provide the Department with valuable statistical information on the characteristics of these groups of children and along with their attainment and destinations, will allow the Department to measure whether the individual pupils, or the schools they attend, face additional educational challenges”.
Nationality is not a key factor in terms of access to the school curriculum. The collection of information on a pupil’s nationality does not necessarily provide any indication on that pupil’s academic performance. For instance, a pupil with Singaporean nationality may be a fluent English speaker with broadly similar schooling experience as their age peers. So nationality should not be conflated with EAL proficiency. They are separate issues. NALDIC would like to urge the DfE to reconsider its position urgently.
9th January 2017