EAL assessments

About English as an Additional Language (EAL) assessments.

EAL assessments

The research recommended that proficiency in English should be evaluated using an assessment framework designed for the purpose, such as:

You can also access the excellent “Classroom Support Strategies: Working with EAL learners in primary settings” from The Bell Foundation website.

For assessing the proficiency in English of children learning through EAL in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), The Bell Foundation recommends using the ‘Listening’ and ‘Speaking’ sections of the EAL primary school assessment alongside EY assessment systems for ‘Communication, Language and Literacy’.

The guidance states that it is “only development in communication, language and literacy that is expected to be assessed in English only.”

As part of the assessment of EAL learners and in order to build a profile of the ‘whole child’ we also recommend completing a ‘Welcome Profile’ during a parent carer interview. The welcome profile establishes language and educational background, identifies gaps in educational provision and levels of literacy. It also provides an opportunity to explore any special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) issues. For welcome profile information and documents, see the Meeting the needs of new arrivals page.


The process of identifying potential special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) for a child who has English as an additional language (EAL), whether they are newly arrived or born here, can be complex.

There is no single SEND assessment that takes into account all factors (linguistic and cultural) that will provide a definitive answer. There is also much research and commentary regarding the validity of assessments both in the first language (L1) and English (L2) and their role in identification of SEND.

Examples of assessments


  • How to use an EAL Assessment Framework
  • Learning EAL in the Early years_booklet

Useful links

  • Warwickshire Filter Questions for SEND
  • EAL_SLCN_screening tool_worcestershire

First Language Assessment

EMTAS First Language Assessment provides general guidance on a pupil’s abilities in their first language. It can provide valuable evidence in the assessment of additional needs, for example during EHCP process.

The tool is intended to be used where schools feel that a bilingual pupil is not making the progress that might be expected and it is felt that there are factors other than developing bilingualism impeding the progress.

The First Language Assessment involves:

  • Discussion with school regarding a pupil’s progress and needs.
  • Interview with a parent.
  • Pupil assessment.
  • Written report with first language use analysis and support strategies to inform provision and next steps.

Before you book the assessment ensure you have:

  • acquired a holistic pupil profile with relevant background information, for example time spent learning English
  • considered contacting EMTAS to arrange an informal pupil observation to assess English language development
  • actioned appropriate EAL strategies consistently and for a sufficient length of time.

The EMTAS team currently offers first language assessments in:

  • Polish
  • Bangla
  • Portuguese
  • Lithuanian
  • Russian

If you require an assessment in another language, we advise booking an interpreter.

For further details, contact your local ethnic minority advisory teacher.

Contact the EMTAS team

If you have any questions, require more guidance from your area EMA advisory teacher or want to book assessments, contact the EMTAS team.