Policy last updated

1 August 2023


  • Schools

January 2020


The Victorian Curriculum F-10 English as an Additional Language (EAL) is the mandated curriculum for EAL students in all Victorian government schools.


This policy outlines the requirements for schools receiving English as an Additional Language (EAL) Index funding and best practice considerations for the delivery of school education programs to support EAL students.


  • EAL Index funding is allocated to Victorian government primary, secondary and combined primary-secondary schools through the Student Resource Package (SRP).
  • Schools receiving EAL Index funding must provide programs to develop the English language proficiency of EAL learners who are still in the process of learning English.
  • Principals must, wherever possible, ensure that these EAL programs are delivered by qualified EAL teachers.
  • It is strongly recommended that schools therefore consider the following:
    • a whole-school approach to EAL programming and provision
    • the development of a specialist EAL program
    • the ways in which EAL needs in mainstream classrooms are met
    • the professional learning needs of staff
  • Further information on planning and implementing effective EAL programs is available on the Guidance tab.


Primary, secondary and combined primary-secondary schools may receive EAL Index funding through the Student Resource Package (SRP) based on data from the Language Background Other Than English Census which is collected in August each year.

Funding is allocated to schools to provide EAL programs based on the number of students who meet criteria outlined in the SRP, refer to: Student Resources Package — Equity Funding, EAL Program Funding (Reference 26). The SRP Guide also contains information on how EAL Index funding is calculated for each school.

Principals of schools that receive EAL Index funding must:

  • provide programs to develop the English language proficiency of EAL learners who are still in the process of learning English
  • wherever possible, assign qualified EAL teachers to EAL positions so that programs are conducted by teachers who have relevant training in teaching English as an additional language
  • complete the EAL section of the mid-year supplementary census.

The following is the suggested priority order for assigning teachers to EAL positions:

  • teachers who hold an approved undergraduate or post graduate EAL qualification
  • teachers who do not hold an approved undergraduate or post graduate EAL qualification but have had experience in teaching EAL
  • teachers who are undertaking an approved tertiary course in teaching EAL or who have attended EAL professional learning courses.

EAL programs

All programs in which EAL learners participate need to provide optimal conditions for learning English. EAL learners in EAL index funded schools will be learning their English through specialist EAL support programs as well as through EAL-informed classroom support.

In schools that do not receive EAL index funding, EAL learners spend their time in mainstream classrooms, and need appropriate EAL-informed teaching. Classroom teachers must understand and be equipped to meet the educational needs of their EAL learners.

Therefore it is strongly recommended that schools consider:

  • a whole-school approach to EAL programming and provision
  • the development of a specialist EAL program
  • the ways in which EAL needs in mainstream classrooms are met
  • the professional learning needs of staff.

Refer to the Guidance tab for detailed advice on planning and implementing effective EAL programs, as well as support available for schools from regional offices.

EAL contingency funding

Schools that experience significant increases to their EAL student profile throughout the year may be eligible for EAL Contingency funding. For more information, refer to: EAL Contingency Funding (Reference 27).

Multicultural education aides

EAL Index funding is made available to schools to staff EAL programs with appropriately qualified EAL teachers and multicultural education aides (MEAs).

MEAs assist with communication between the school and parents of students from language backgrounds other than English. They also assist students in the classroom in small groups or on a one-to-one basis.

The MEA Handbook provides advice to schools about the employment and roles of MEAs in Victorian government schools.

Refer to the Resources tab for the MEA Handbook.

Assessment and reporting for EAL students

EAL students require specific assessment and reporting processes. For information on these requirements refer to:


Guidance for planning and implementing EAL programs

This guidance provides schools with advice for planning and implementing effective programs for a school’s English as an Additional Language (EAL) student cohort. It contains the following chapters:

  • Introduction
  • A whole-school approach to EAL programming and provision
  • Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO 2.0) – EAL Students
  • EAL program documentation
  • Student information required to support EAL learners in school
  • Student learning needs
  • Program decisions
  • Collaborative planning and teaching
  • The mainstream classroom program
  • EAL electives in secondary schools
  • The professional learning needs of staff



EAL learners are a diverse group, and their learning needs vary. EAL learners include students:

  • beginning school in Australia at any year level
  • born overseas or in Australia
  • beginning school with little, some or no exposure to English
  • with schooling equivalent to that received by their chronological peers
  • with little or no previous formal schooling in any country, or with severely interrupted education in their first language.

Students learning English as an additional language are faced with a number of challenges.

To make progress and to achieve the same level of educational success as other students they must develop literacy in English by:

  • learning to speak English
  • learning to read and write English
  • continuing their learning in all learning areas through English, at the same time as they are learning English
  • learning about the Australian school system.

They also need to develop new cultural understandings, in both the educational context and in the wider community.

All programs in which EAL learners participate need to provide optimal conditions for learning English. EAL learners in EAL Index funded schools will be learning their English through specialist EAL support programs as well as through EAL-informed classroom support.

In schools that do not receive EAL Index funding, EAL learners spend their time in mainstream classrooms, and need appropriate EAL-informed teaching. Classroom teachers must understand and be equipped to meet the educational needs of their EAL learners.

Schools should therefore consider the following:

  • a whole-school approach to EAL programming and provision
  • the development of a specialist EAL program
  • the ways in which EAL needs in mainstream classrooms are met
  • the professional learning needs of staff
  • how the Victorian Curriculum F-10 English as an Additional Language can inform teaching in all curriculum areas.

A whole-school approach to EAL programming and provision

A whole-school approach to EAL programming and provision

Catering for the language and literacy development of EAL learners is a long-term, shared school community commitment. The most effective EAL provision involves a whole-school approach. This means that EAL learners and their families are acknowledged, consulted, included, and active participants in the school community. It also means:

  • targeted EAL programs are provided for students with the greatest learning needs
  • all teachers are aware of the learning needs of the EAL cohort
  • strong EAL pedagogy is evident in classroom programs, planning, teaching and assessment practices
  • teachers use the Victorian Curriculum F-10 English as an Additional Language (EAL) as the basis for curriculum planning
  • teachers use the curriculum companion resourcesExternal Link , provided by the Department, to broaden their understanding of the EAL curriculum, to validate assessments of students’ progress and to design appropriate learning experiences
  • principals use the EAL Achievement reports from the School Information Portal and Panorama to review and monitor the progress of students against the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL and to inform program planning
  • EAL programs and provision are regularly reviewed to ensure they continue to meet EAL learners’ needs
  • the School Strategic Plan, the Annual Implementation Plan, relevant school policies and systemic practices document the school’s support for, and provision of, quality EAL programs.

Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO 2.0) – EAL students

Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO 2.0) – EAL students

The Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO 2.0) for Victorian government schools includes self-evaluation, review, planning, reporting and sharing exemplary practice across the system. Within FISO there are opportunities for documenting, setting goals and developing strategies for, and reviewing, EAL provision within the school.

The School Strategic Plan (SSP) and the Annual Implementation Plan for Improving Student Outcomes (AIP) emphasise the importance of setting goals for improved student outcomes and selecting key strategies to bring about improvement for all students.

EAL learners follow different pathways of English language learning from students for whom English is a first language. These pathways are described in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EALExternal Link . The EAL curriculum and the Department’s curriculum companion resources should be used as the basis for developing realistic and accessible goals and teaching programs for EAL learners.

Strategies to bring about improvement in the outcomes of EAL learners can be specifically outlined in the SSP and the AIP.

The SSP sets the strategic direction for the next four years for the school, expressed through goals, targets and key improvement strategies. It could include specific EAL aspects such as:

  • how the school’s EAL program will be organised, developed and managed
  • assessment and reporting policies for EAL learners
  • staffing strategies
  • monitoring and review of the EAL program.

The AIP describes how the key improvement strategies in the SSP, and other significant projects, will be put into operation during the year and how they will be monitored. It can include aspects tailored for EAL students such as:

  • specific goals for the learning of particular groups and individual students
  • the way in which student progress will be assessed and monitored
  • professional learning plans.

It is recommended that EAL provision is also included in the annual school self-evaluation or as part of any review process undertaken.

EAL program documentation

EAL program documentation

Schools are encouraged to develop an EAL program statement, to inform and guide the development of the most appropriate program for the EAL learners and the school context.

Schools may wish to involve their communities in developing their EAL program statement as a way of seeking their input into the program as well as informing them of how the school supports EAL learners and fosters an inclusive educational program for all students. Schools are particularly encouraged to seek input from EAL families (students, their parents and carers) into the EAL program statement.

A typical EAL program statement will include a rationale for the program, objectives, provision, and review arrangements.

The rationale could include information about the school’s EAL learner cohort and the support required to meet their language learning needs.

The objectives of the EAL program need to be clearly stated. The objectives must include learning objectives and assessment practices consistent with the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

Other objectives may also include educational and community aims, such as meeting student welfare needs and maintaining students’ heritage or other additional languages.

The provision section of an EAL program statement will be developed as program arrangements are established, and could include:

  • the type/s of support or classes to be offered
  • timetabling
  • the eligible students
  • how the specialist aspects of the program will be staffed
  • how students will be supported in mainstream classes
  • roles and responsibilities of staff
  • transition policies or arrangements
  • strategies for engaging with parents and families of EAL learners
  • resources available
  • professional learning goals and plans.

An EAL program statement could also include a schedule for regular review and a commitment to evaluate the program, consistent with the evaluation of other learning areas and in line with school improvement processes.

EAL Regional Program Officers (RPOs) are available in each region to support Victorian government schools to develop and implement effective EAL programs and can support schools to develop an EAL program statement.

The EAL RPOs will be able to help identify appropriate steps to develop a program that suits the school context and needs of the particular EAL learner cohort.

To speak to an EAL RPO, contact:

Student information required to support EAL learners in school

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.

School principals and their delegates can also access dashboards which identify EAL and Likely Refugee Background students, and view teacher judgement data against the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL through Panorama. Panorama provides school information and data through its interactive dashboards, reports and the School Information Portal (SIP). Data in Panorama is drawn from data uploaded to CASES21. A short presentation showing how to navigate the Panorama dashboards and the data that they provide is available on FUSEExternal Link .

This information can form a basis for planning but needs to be supplemented with further information, which may include:

  • sociolinguistic profiles developed by the school
  • information collected from parent/teacher interviews and from students themselves
  • reports from previous schools
  • transition reports from intensive English language programs
  • past school reports and/or academic records from other countries.

The Language and Learning InterviewExternal Link 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 interviewExternal Link 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 learning needs

Student learning needs

The needs of the EAL learner cohort across the school should be a primary consideration for developing a program.

Questions to be considered include:

  • What is the range of needs across the EAL learner cohort?
  • Which students need a specialised EAL program?
  • Which students could be adequately supported in mainstream classrooms?
  • Who will be targeted for a specialist EAL program?
  • Are any students preliterate or beginning readers and writers who need to become literate in English as well as develop language skills?
  • Do students need to develop ‘learning to learn’ skills or become familiar with classroom routines and behaviours?
  • Are there any students from a refugee background who may have significant pre-migration, migration or settlement issues impacting on their capacity to learn?
  • Have students encountered the technology used in the classroom before?
  • Does the school have adequate and appropriate resources for the learners, in terms of literacy, language and content level, as well as culturally appropriate content and imagery?
  • Does the school have resources in the students’ first or additional languages?

Program decisions

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.

Collaborative planning and teaching

Collaborative planning and teaching

Collaborative planning

Collaborative planning can involve a single teacher and an EAL teacher working together, or a team of teachers and an EAL teacher working together. Planning can be done at the curriculum or unit planning level, and take place during the implementation of the program, to allow for changing student learning needs.

A common format may be used for unit planning, and this can be copied for all members of the planning team. Planning is a key element in the implementation of an EAL program. In collaborative planning classroom teachers and EAL teachers plan together, each of them bringing important information to the planning session.

Collaborative planning is most successful when the roles and expectations of classroom and specialist teachers are clear. If the EAL teacher is also involved in parallel or similar-needs teaching, collaborative planning ensures that both teachers are working towards the same learning goals. It allows for flexibility in implementing the program and sharing knowledge about the learner’s progress.

Classroom/subject teachers have knowledge of:

  • the content and methodology through which to teach the area content
  • the EAL learners, who they have been able to observe working in many different learning contexts.

EAL teachers bring knowledge of second language acquisition and EAL teaching to:

  • identify the stage of language development of the EAL learner
  • set reasonable learning goals and identify effective strategies which will enhance English language learning
  • plan assessment activities aligned with the levels of the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL that identify the learner’s competence and needs.

Where the EAL teacher’s time allocation is limited, or EAL learners are spread across several year levels, collaborative planning may represent the optimal use of an EAL teacher. It provides EAL-informed input into the ongoing classroom program and may therefore have greater overall effect than a brief teaching session directly with the EAL learners. Collaborative planning is also particularly effective when new programs or teaching approaches are being implemented.

Team teaching

Team teaching is an effective strategy for EAL provision. In this model, the classroom teacher and an EAL teacher share responsibility for assessing students and planning, teaching, and evaluating the EAL program. It is crucial that collaborative planning is undertaken. Part of the planning session should involve deciding on the tasks in which students may benefit most from having two teachers, and the tasks in which EAL learners may need most support.

Team teaching may be most useful in:

  • activities where EAL learners are introduced to new tasks or are working in cooperative groups on a challenging task
  • introducing EAL learners to new information to prepare them for a future task.

Team teaching is most successful when both the EAL teacher and the classroom teacher have shared beliefs about language teaching and learning. The role of both teachers may change from week to week, depending on the needs of the students and the demands of the curriculum. Team teaching provides the flexibility to use a range of effective classroom organisational options which may be demanding for the classroom teacher to implement alone. These may include small group work, conferencing, or teaching that focuses on particular language items, or on preparing EAL learners for a new topic or activity.

Parallel teaching

Parallel teaching involves both the classroom teacher and the EAL teacher presenting the same content to students, but with an EAL teacher teaching the EAL learners and focusing in particular on the language demands of the task. While they are likely to use separate teaching locations and different activities, teachers need to plan collaboratively to ensure that they share goals, and that all students are covering the basic classroom curriculum.

Parallel teaching may be particularly effective at the start of a new unit, when EAL learners may need to learn new vocabulary and concepts, or when a task is particularly demanding linguistically, for example, writing a report where students need to revise the structures and features of the text type.

In secondary schools, EAL classes for a subject area may run parallel to, and in place of, mainstream English classes, or in subject areas such as Science, Mathematics or Humanities. Parallel classes work particularly well when there are multiple students in a particular year level or operating at a particular stage of EAL development.

Similar-needs teaching

Similar-needs classes may be organised in response to particular EAL learner needs.

In similar-needs classes, content is chosen that is most appropriate to the students at their level of development.

Similar-needs classes may be used to prepare students for the language demands across the curriculum or to recycle language that still requires more practice. Similar-needs classes should be based on English language learning needs and can include students from more than one class. This kind of provision is also suitable where small numbers of EAL learners, at similar stages of development in classes at the same year level (or across year levels), are brought together to maximise the time they can spend in a targeted EAL program. Similar-needs classes are particularly effective for newly arrived students.

Planning between the EAL teacher and classroom teachers is an essential element of such classes and ensures that the EAL program remains relevant to the mainstream classroom program.

The mainstream classroom program

The mainstream classroom program

EAL learners spend the majority of their school time with their classroom teacher in primary school, or with subject teachers in secondary school, even though they may have additional support from an EAL teacher. Therefore, the main responsibility for ensuring that EAL learner needs are met will always be the day-to-day responsibility of the classroom teacher or subject teachers.

The main way in which this responsibility can be met is through planning and implementing a teaching program that caters to the EAL learner’s particular needs.

EAL teachers can assist classroom and subject teachers to develop appropriate programs for their EAL learners. This can include assisting them to:

  • identify the English language skills and needs of EAL learners across the learning areas and planning learning experiences that cater for them
  • choose resources that reflect the diverse nature of Australian society and are culturally sensitive
  • choose resources that are accessible for all students in terms of the language used, or plan activities that prepare EAL learners for these resources
  • plan ‘EAL-friendly’ teaching strategies and approaches that model language and processes and scaffold demanding tasks.

EAL electives in secondary schools

EAL electives in secondary schools

EAL can be offered as an elective subject on the school timetable. The purpose of this class would be to:

  • offer targeted support to EAL learners, when there is no stand-alone EAL program and students attend mainstream English classes, or
  • offer additional language support to students who attend an EAL specialist program, but require extra teaching time for skill development

Careful consideration should be given to the subject/s against which EAL is blocked, so that students choosing the elective are not disadvantaged by limiting their other options for further study.

The professional learning needs of staff

The professional learning needs of staff

In the early stages of developing an EAL program it is worthwhile to build an informed view of EAL learning and teaching within the school.

EAL Regional Program Officers will be able to assist with identifying professional learning needs and opportunities for mainstream teachers, EAL specialists and multicultural education aides (MEAs).

All staff can access a range of factual and fictional materials in students’ home languages, from the Languages and Multicultural Education Resource CentreExternal Link (LMERC).

To successfully deliver a whole-school EAL program, all teaching staff should understand:

  • how an additional language is learnt
  • the teaching and learning conditions that best promote the learning of English as an additional language
  • the language and literacy demands of classroom activities
  • EAL teaching strategies they can use in their classrooms
  • the stages of EAL learning as described in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL and the curriculum companion resourcesExternal Link produced by the Department
  • the particular learning needs of the full range of EAL learners.

Appropriate professional learning for all staff, including school support staff may be:

  • working effectively with interpreters
  • cultural background information sessions
  • developing intercultural understanding
  • cross-cultural competency training
  • understanding the refugee experience
  • information sessions about situations in students’ countries of origin.

Opportunities for teachers to mentor, coach and learn from each other may also be investigated.

Staff roles and responsibilities to support EAL learners

All the members of a school community have a role to play in the development and delivery of the school’s EAL program. Staff roles in schools vary according to the size of the school and EAL learner cohort. The following descriptions list possible roles to support an EAL program along with suggested responsibilities for each role.

Leadership team

The principal or school leader:

  • ensures that accurate data is collected through enrolment procedures, interviews and meetings with parents, so that statistical information about the school population can be collated, and so that important factors that may influence students’ learning are known
  • ensures interpreters or MEAs are used to obtain accurate information about the learner from parents
  • ensures resources including EAL Index funding are directed to the EAL program
  • ensures teachers have access to information about their students that is relevant to the teaching and learning program
  • provides opportunities for teacher professional learning to ensure that there is an awareness in the school community of:
    • the implications of additional language acquisition for learning and teaching
    • the latest information about EAL methodology and resources
    • how to work effectively with interpreters and MEAs
    • the refugee experience and recovery goals to support student learning and wellbeing
  • provides support for MEA professional learning
  • promotes a culture that values diversity and ensures that multicultural perspectives are incorporated into all aspects of school life
  • encourages home–school partnerships and parent engagement.

Curriculum or literacy leaders

The curriculum or literacy leader:

  • ensures that policies and learning programs in all learning areas are formulated and implemented with the language learning needs of all students in mind and with an emphasis on building student language acquisition across all three modes of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Viewing and Writing
  • develops an approach that promotes access to the curriculum for all students including EAL learners
  • builds teachers’ knowledge of the explicit language and literacy demands of their teaching areas
  • ensures that curriculum policies require multicultural perspectives to be incorporated in all learning areas
  • liaises with the EAL coordinator to identify effective ways MEAs can contribute to classroom planning and the delivery of lessons
  • ensures that assessment in all learning areas can measure a student’s capacity to engage with the language and literacy demands of the curriculum
  • supports teachers in using assessment information to scaffold students’ learning in literacy and language through the learning areas
  • builds staff capacity in using appropriate assessment for EAL learners.

Learning specialists

The learning specialist:

  • demonstrates high-level expertise in teaching and learning practice
  • models exemplary classroom practice including through teaching demonstration lessons
  • works with the school leadership team to develop a shared view of highly effective teacher practice
  • leads and models the implementation of whole-school improvement strategies related to curriculum planning and delivery
  • plays a key role in the provision of professional learning, including through developing processes and protocols for observation and feedback of teacher practice and peer collaboration
  • models effective learning practice and supports teachers to seek, analyse and act on feedback on their practice
  • provides evidence-based feedback to teaching staff to inform their effectiveness and development
  • provides expert advice about the content, processes and strategies that will shape individual and school professional learning
  • supervises and trains one or more pre-service teachers, and mentors and/or coaches teachers
  • models exemplary use of student data to inform teaching approaches
  • develops and promotes school-wide professional learning structures, processes and protocols through Professional Learning Communities
  • models exemplary professional learning practice including through seeking feedback from other teachers and leaders on their own classroom practice as part of critical reflection and inquiry to improve practice.

EAL specialists

The EAL coordinator, leader or teacher:

  • provides specialist EAL teaching that increases students’ capacity to participate successfully in mainstream classroom activities and to achieve the goals of the mainstream curriculum
  • keeps abreast of the latest information in the EAL field, for example through professional learning opportunities, and shares this with staff as appropriate
  • works with teachers in curriculum areas to identify the language and literacy demands of the content and identify specific EAL-informed teaching approaches to address learner needs
  • assists the classroom teacher in assessing EAL learners’ competence in English, formulating practical goals and objectives for EAL learners and planning a program that caters for the needs of all EAL learners
  • establishes relationships with neighbouring schools and participates in EAL networks
  • oversees the MEA timetable for scheduled classes to support EAL learners and their teachers
  • works with the leadership team to analyse school data related to EAL learners and its implications for whole school provision
  • works with curriculum and professional learning leaders to implement appropriate staff development in EAL assessment and reporting
  • collaborates with other staff on EAL relevant initiatives such as career development and refugee support initiatives.

Classroom or subject teachers

The classroom teacher in a primary school or subject teacher in a secondary school:

  • identifies the language learning needs of EAL learners when planning activities across all areas of the curriculum
  • plans curriculum that takes account of the understanding that EAL learners are acquiring English while learning about English, through English and learning how to read, write and speak at the same time
  • makes the language and literacy demands required for success in each lesson explicit to all students
  • scaffolds students’ language and literacy learning through the curriculum explicitly by using EAL strategies and teaching approaches
  • develops classroom activities that relate to and build upon the experiences that students bring to the learning situation
  • uses assessment strategies that allow all students to demonstrate the understandings they have gained
  • keeps assessment records that indicate the growth of understandings and skills
  • informs parents of student progress in EAL as well as in the learning areas other than English
  • provides opportunities for all students to share the diversity of their experiences
  • ensures that multicultural perspectives are incorporated in all aspects of the social and learning environments
  • attends relevant EAL professional learning.

Multicultural education aides

The multicultural education aide (MEA):

  • supports EAL learners by explaining concepts or directions in the learners’ first language, or simplified English
  • facilitates the participation of EAL learners in group work
  • liaises with family members and members of the community to foster communication and to encourage parents to participate fully in the life of the school
  • provides staff with insights into the culture and language of students and their families
  • assists teachers to communicate with parents and other family members
  • supports teachers with resource development.

Further information on MEAs is available in the MEA Handbook.

Professional learning coordinators

The professional learning coordinator ensures staff have access to EAL professional learning, including that which develops their understanding of:

  • the cultural, linguistic and faith backgrounds of their students
  • how English is learnt as an additional language
  • the teaching and learning conditions that best promote the learning of English as an additional language
  • the language and literacy demands of classroom activities and learning areas
  • EAL teaching strategies they can use in their classrooms
  • the stages of EAL learning as described in the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL and the curriculum companion resources produced by the Department
  • the particular learning needs of the full range of EAL learners
  • where appropriate, the refugee experience and approaches to support that promote the wellbeing of students from refugee backgrounds.

Transition coordinators

A transition coordinator:

  • supports transitions and the development of pathways for children and young people at vital points in their education
  • liaises with transition coordinators/officers from English language schools and centres if students have come from a new arrivals program
  • understands that EAL learners and students from refugee backgrounds may have experienced multiple changes in their lives, including country of residence, education, languages learnt and cultures encountered, all of which can impact on their learning and capacity to learn
  • supports students and families with educational transitions
  • makes information in languages other than English available
  • ensures interpreters are used to convey important messages
  • ensures teachers have access to relevant information about students contained within Transition Learning and Development Statements, exit reports from English language schools and centres, past school reports and/or academic records from other countries
  • coordinates parent information sessions, engaging interpreters as appropriate.

The transition coordinator:

  • collaborates with the school enrolment officer to ensure the enrolment process is culturally appropriate and that relevant and accurate information is collected, using interpreters where necessary
  • uses the information in Transition reports to inform planning to meet the needs of the EAL learners entering the school
  • refers all overseas born students entering Foundation who have been in Australia less than 18 months to an intensive English language program.

Librarians and resources coordinators

The school librarian or resource coordinator:

  • provides a range of accessible resources for EAL learners at different stages of EAL development (for example, for classroom units of work, for their own reading)
  • ensures that available materials reflect the diversity of Australian society
  • makes teachers aware where resources contain racist and stereotypical references
  • supports teachers to access up-to-date materials on second language acquisition and EAL teaching methodology.

Careers practitioners

The careers practitioner implements the school’s career education program, which includes:

  • delivering My Career ExplorationExternal Link to students in Year 7 and 8 to encourage students to learn more about themselves — their interests, skills and strengths and to explore the world of work
  • supporting all Year 7 to 12 students in government secondary schools to access My Career PortfolioExternal Link , an online resource used to create and update their career action plans, store files related to their course and career planning and get links to current careers information and resources
  • supporting Year 9 students in government secondary schools to undertake My Career InsightsExternal Link which includes completing an online career diagnostic assessment and participating in a one-on-one interview with an external careers consultant to discuss the results of their profile
  • delivering Pathway Planning for Year 10 EAL studentsExternal Link lesson plans which aims to provide tailored career education to Middle Years Low Literacy and Numeracy EAL students in Year 10
  • providing students with culturally appropriate and informed advice and information about subjects, courses, careers and pathways through a combination of classroom activities and group and individual counselling
  • supporting Year 12 students to make applications to the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre, including Special Entry Access Scheme and scholarship applications as well as direct entry applications to relevant tertiary institutions
  • supporting EAL learners to access and participate in workplace learning opportunities, including work experience, Structured Workplace Learning, School Community Work (volunteering) and Head Start and School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs)
  • promoting applied and vocational learning opportunities to EAL learners from Year 7
  • providing a range of learning experiences that support EAL students to engage with VET providers, industry and the world of work, such as TAFE tasters, visiting workplaces and encouraging employers and industry representatives to speak to students at the school
  • guiding EAL learners to identify and participate in relevant careers expos and university and TAFE open days
  • supporting parents to assist in their child’s career development using the Engaging Parents in Career ConversationsExternal Link framework (EPiCC), including making use of the EAL Guidelines and customised resources contained within.



The following resources are available to support schools with EAL learners

MEA handbook

For guidelines on the employment and roles of multicultural education aides (MEA) in Victorian Government schools, refer to:


Government schools can access free interpreters (within guidelines) for activities such as learning more about a student’s educational background.

Refer to: Interpreting and Translation Services

Identifying EAL students

Government schools may wish to use the A closer look at the Language and Learning interviewExternal Link guide to gather key information about a student’s educational background and identify EAL students. This guide includes information about how to ensure students are identified for funding purposes on CASES21.

CASES21 reports for individual students

CASES21 reports that show background information on EAL students to assist schools with program planning and delivery include:

  • Languages Background Other Than English (ST21034)
  • New Arrivals Data Collection (ST21031)
  • EAL Student Achievement (ST21905) which displays up to 7 years of student assessment data.

Panorama dashboards

Panorama dashboardsExternal Link (login required) identify the performance of students by their EAL status:

  • Student Demographics Dashboard
  • EAL Teacher Judgement Dashboard

A presentation on how to navigate the dashboards and the data that they provide can be found on FUSEExternal Link .

Department resources

The following resources have been developed to support EAL teachers and schools to plan and implement the new Victorian Curriculum F-10 English as an Additional Language:

Languages and Multicultural Education Centre

A range of factual and fictional materials in students’ home languages can be found at Languages and Multicultural Education Resource Centre (LMERC)External Link .

Resources accessed through careers practitioners

Reviewed 01 March 2020