The role of the English as a second language (ESL) support teacher (frequently referred to in England as a Section 11 (S11) teacher) has evolved over the past two to three decades in response to changing educational ideologies and contexts. In many ways it has been a self-defining role which has responded to specific school contexts and to local educational needs. As a result, the practice offered in one Local Education Authority (LEA) may be quite different from school population is bilingual can be quite different from the work of an ESL teacher in a suburban or rural area where a small number of bilingual or second language learners are dispersed amongst a large number of schools. Latterly, in England the role of ESL teachers has been more clearly defined in response to the criteria set out in the Home Office guidelines for Section 11 funding. Section 11 project managers have had to write job descriptions that not only meet Home Office requirements but also are relevant to their own working situation. In some areas, there are ESL teachers who are not funded by the Home Office but by LEAs. In these cases the definitions of role is no clearer. In some ways it has been definition by default. It has not necessarily been practice defined by the language learning needs of the bilingual learners the ESL teacher serves.