Pupils learning English as an additional language (EAL) share many common characteristics with pupils whose first language is English. Many of their learning needs are similar to those of other children and young people learning in our schools. However, these pupils also have distinct and different needs from other pupils by virtue of the fact that they are learning in and through an additional language, whilst also learning that language. In addition, they come from cultural backgrounds and communities with different understandings and expectations of education, language and learning.
Pupils with English as an additional language are not a homogeneous group. Teachers and educational policy makers need to be aware of the range of variables in relation to both individual learners and groups.