Program decisions

There are many factors which will influence the way an EAL program is staffed, timetabled and organised. As well as considering which teaching contexts are most appropriate to meet the needs of student groups within the specialist EAL program schools must consider the available resources and other logistics in determining the details of the program. In addition, all members of a school’s staff should be aware they have a role to play in the delivery of a high quality EAL program.

Aspects of the program’s delivery such as assessment and reporting, and parent engagement, must also be determined. The following questions should be answered to inform program decisions.

Resources and logistics

  • How many students need EAL teaching and/or support?
  • Which year levels are those students in and what stages of English language development have they reached?
  • What is the most effective way to group the students?
  • What is the school’s level of EAL Index funding and what additional funds could be allocated to support EAL learners?
  • How will staff roles and responsibilities for EAL be allocated?
  • Which teachers have EAL qualifications, extensive professional learning in EAL, or experience in teaching EAL learners?
  • How will Multicultural Education Aides (MEAs) support the program?
  • What teaching spaces are available?
  • Will the groupings or program options be flexible enough to change from term to term or semester to semester if student needs change?
  • What timetabling considerations need to be taken into account, for example which classes will EAL classes be blocked against in a secondary program?

Assessment and reporting

  • Which assessment tools will be used throughout the school?
  • Which assessment tasks are appropriate for EAL learners?
  • Who will assess the English language learning needs of EAL learners?
  • How will information about the English language proficiency levels of EAL learners be used to inform and support their teachers in mainstream classes?
  • How will the school ensure teacher judgement data for EAL students is imported to CASES21 for Semester 1 and 2 each year, so it becomes part of their permanent record?
  • How will the school report EAL learner progress to parents and other teachers?
  • How will EAL learners’ development in learning English be reported to the system?

The Department provides advice to support decisions about appropriate assessment and reporting on its website.

Refer to: Assessment of Student Achievement and Progress Foundation to 10 and Reporting Student Achievement and Progress Foundation to 10

Parents and families

  • How will parents’ language needs be catered for?
  • How will parents be informed about and engaged with school programs?
  • How will parents or guardians be engaged in their children’s learning or involved in assessment?
  • How will communication enable all parents to participate in the life of the school?
  • Which contexts will provide opportunities for parents to understand the way in which the EAL program works?
  • What opportunities will parents have to express their needs and expectations?

Schools can use many different organisational strategies and student groupings to maximise their ability to cater for the diverse learning needs of their EAL learners. These include team teaching, flexible groupings, and specialist programs. These options are not mutually exclusive, and some or all can operate, depending on considerations including students’ needs, school size, staffing, and resources.

The way in which EAL needs are being met in the mainstream classroom can influence program choices. For example, a classroom teacher trialling a new program to support EAL learners may benefit from team teaching with the EAL teacher to establish the program.

Schools also need to consider the availability of suitable locations for flexible groupings, such as parallel teaching needs, with either the classroom teacher or the EAL teacher using an alternative location. Locations may need to be found for activities that require space or quiet.

Where beliefs about teaching and teaching styles differ, some programs will be more practicable than others. It may be beneficial to plan collaboratively but use a separate teaching location.

It is also important that, wherever possible, similar-needs EAL groups are not timetabled at the same time as specialist programs. Physical education or technology activities, for example, are excellent opportunities for English language learning, and students may feel they are missing out on something special if they are not included in such programs.

EAL program decisions

Reviewed 20 April 2020

Was this page helpful?