School operations

EAL Support and Funding

Student information required to support EAL learners in school

To provide appropriately for the EAL learners in the school, it is essential to know their learning histories and achievements in their first language and any additional languages, including English. Learning history includes any participation in a new arrivals program, such as intensive EAL tuition in an English language school or centre, prior to enrolling in a mainstream school.

Much information about a student’s cultural, linguistic and educational background is collected on enrolment. It may be necessary to use an interpreter to be sure that accurate information is collected. Government schools can access free interpreters within guidelines. For more information refer to: Interpreting and Translation Services.

Information collected and stored on CASES21 includes:

  • whether or not students speak English as their main language at home
  • the number of years of schooling students have had in their home countries
  • whether their schooling has been disrupted
  • date of arrival in Australia
  • participation in a new arrivals program.

CASES21 reports that show this information include Languages Background Other Than English (ST21034), New Arrivals Data Collection (ST21031) and EAL Student Achievement (ST21905), which displays up to seven years of student assessment data.

This information can form a basis for planning but needs to be supplemented with further information. Many schools develop a sociolinguistic profile of their students. Information collected from parent/teacher interviews, from students themselves, reports from previous schools including transition reports from intensive English language programs, past school reports and/or academic records from other countries add to the profile schools have of their students, their experiences and learning needs.

The Language and Learning Interview provided by the VCAA is designed to support schools in getting to know their newly enrolled EAL students and determining how best they can meet their students’ needs. The purpose of the interview is to find out about the student’s prior learning experiences, including their development of literacy in their home language or other languages, and any previous learning of English. A closer look at the Language and Learning interview provides information on how to administer the interview.

EAL and classroom teachers can better provide for their students if they know:

  • how long each student has been learning English, in Australia or overseas
  • each student’s level of literacy in their first and any subsequent language/s
  • each student’s assessments against the EAL standards
  • whether or not students are making acceptable progress in learning English
  • how students are progressing in other subject areas
  • students' access to English outside of school hours
  • whether or not students attend classes in their home language.

Examining data beyond student results for English and Mathematics can provide valuable insights into EAL learners’ needs and strengths. Attitude, attendance and retention data are also important data sources. This can be accessed from the Panorama dashboard.

NAPLAN assessments provide data on students against national benchmarks. The principal may grant an exemption from NAPLAN to students who have been learning English in Australia for less than one year.

Student information required to support EAL learners in school

Reviewed 11 May 2021

Was this page helpful?