Examining EAL policy and practice in mainstream schools

Yvonne Foley, Pauline Sangster, Charles Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

While internationally there is a growing body of work investigating mainstreaming of English as an additional language (EAL), this topic has not featured strongly in research in the United Kingdom, and there are only a few studies that focus on the extent to which government policies and prescriptions concerning EAL students are actually being implemented in everyday practice. Addressing this gap, the current paper gives an account of the findings of a study which involved 22 student-teachers reporting on their observations concerning EAL policies and practices, across 66 placements in 47 schools in eight local authorities and in five independent schools. These student-teachers had taken part in an EAL course which sensitised them to issues surrounding EAL learners in mainstream classrooms and positioned them as informed observers. Their reports appear to reveal that the needs of EAL learners across Scotland are not being met to a sufficient degree, despite the fact that legislation is in place which requires local authorities and schools to ensure that all learners have appropriate access to the curriculum. Possible reasons for this state of affairs and ways in which progress could be achieved are considered in the concluding discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-206
JournalLanguage and Education
Issue number3
Early online date30 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • EAL
  • mainstreaming
  • secondary schools
  • policy and practice


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