Can’t speak, can’t learn: what’s the impact of non-native speakers in schools?

Can’t speak, can’t learn: what’s the impact of non-native speakers in schools?

The number of schoolchildren who do not speak English as their first language is increasing each year. It is hard to spot a ‘gifted and talented’ pupil if they are held back by language challenges. How can education respond to the increase in EAL to ensure every child can access the whole curriculum?

As experts in assessment we believe it's our duty to provide a forum to debate key educational issues. We hosted an event in London on 22 May 2012 to debate the key issues. More than 100 people including teachers, assessment experts and journalists attended. The debate was streamed live and more than 1000 people watched online.

Our presenters included: Lee Donaghy, Park View Business & Enterprise School, Birmingham; Phil Woolas, former immigration minister; Dr Sandra McNally, London School of Economics and Political Science; Dr Philida Schellekens, consultant, author, teacher and teacher trainer; Dr Frank Monaghan, the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC); Prof. Dr. Piet Van Avermaet, Ghent University; and Tim Chadwick, consultant and teacher trainer.

The 6-minute film below shows some of the experiences of teachers in UK schools, and you can also watch films from our live debate (which took place on 22 May) or download podcasts.

View the podcasts from this event.

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