Meeting the needs of new arrivals

A collection of advice and resources to help schools meet the needs of international new arrivals and pupils who are new to English.

The Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service (EMTAS) has created a collection of advice and resources to help schools meet the needs of international new arrivals and pupils who are new to English.

As part of the assessment of English as an additional language (EAL) learners and in order to build a profile of the ‘whole child’ we 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. Use welcome profiles to find out information about the pupils.

Welcome profile documents

For copies in other languages, contact the EMTAS team.

Guidance for settings

Primary schools

Good practice ideas

Use the following methods to help new arrivals.

  • collaborative learning
  • peer-based learning
  • barrier games
  • dictogloss
  • reciprocal reading
  • listening to stories or recordings
  • discussing stories – using narratives to build vocabulary, sentence structures and comprehension
  • using scaffolding and examples to facilitate language production
  • giving clear, uncomplicated instructions
  • exposing learners to good models of social and academic language
  • using project-based activities
  • promoting social interaction
  • using visual resources to enhance context – graphs, knowledge organisers, mind-maps, posters, videos etc.
  • visit the Great Ideas page on the Bell Foundation website
  • contact the EMA Advisory Teacher in your area.

Induction programme for Key Stage (KS) 2 late arrivals

A one-to-one programme designed to provide focused support for a Year 5 or 6 pupil new to, or in the early stages of. learning English.

The scheme helps students access school and the curriculum. It boosts confidence by teaching the student key vocabulary and language.

The seven sessions cover:

  • classroom survival language
  • key family and classroom nouns
  • key verbs and adjectives
  • prepositions
  • expressing likes and dislikes.

Secondary settings

Plan and prepare for the arrival of the student – how best to welcome them and address their needs:

  • Learn how to pronounce the student’s name.
  • Complete a Welcome Profile with parents (see above) - an interpreter may be needed.
  • Use positive and welcoming body language.
  • Learn a few key words in their first language (L1) or get the student to teach you – 'hello', 'goodbye', 'my name is' and so on.
  • Use a buddy system.
  • Avoid placing in lower ability groups.
  • Discuss access strategies for EAL learners with teachers and support staff.
  • Identify a safe space and a key person to go to if upset or worried.
  • Monitor how the student settles in over the first few weeks and months.

What helps me learn English – Students’ Voice:

  • Regular opportunities to talk things through to help understanding.”
  • “Support with subject vocabulary, including writing new words on the board.”
  • “Teachers who explain things clearly and simply – some forget that you are learning English and speak too fast in a difficult language.”
  • “Visual aids. Models of what to expect.”
  • “Books with audio tapes for practising the language”
  • “Buddy system”
  • “Support in L1. Dictionaries, translation tools.”
  • “Marking that gives guidance on what has been done well, what needs to be improved and how.”
  • “Writing frames to help you present your ideas.”


The framework should be used to monitor the development of proficiency in English as well as to inform planning and intervention.

The Bell Foundation offers a dedicated free to download Secondary EAL Assessment Framework and accompanying ‘Classroom Strategy Guide’.

See the EAL assessments page.

Classroom strategies

The Bell Foundation ‘Classroom Strategy Guide’ offers a catalogue of effective and easy to implement strategies which work well with students learning through EAL. You can also refer to The Bell Foundation “Great Ideas” pages.

Whole school EAL provision

  • On arrival gather information about the new student using the welcome profile in order to better understand their needs.
  • Establish the best way to communicate and maintain communication with the student's family.
  • Have high expectations of the new student.
  • Plan in advance how best to support the student in their first weeks and months in school and how best to approach their transition to Post 16.
  • Make the curriculum accessible by implementing strategies suitable for EAL learners including use of the full linguistic repertoire of the student – in other words demonstrating that the first language of the student is valued in and of itself as well as being regarded as a valuable tool to support learning.
  • Develop the student’s sense of belonging by supporting engagement with the whole school community and promoting social interactions and extracurricular or enrichment activities.

Guidance for specific Key Stages

    • Offer accessible information around school expectations, routines, homework and IT to both students and parents.
    • Ensure both parents and students can access and know how to use school IT systems.
    • Use Welcome Profiles.
    • Introduce a buddy system.
    • Allocate students in sets against their cognitive abilities not English language skills.
    • Plan for and implement classroom strategies that enable EAL learners to access the curriculum – in all subjects and all lessons.
    • Embed study skills early on and encourage them to use their first language (L1) to support access to the curriculum.
    • Encourage social interaction with other students and participation in extra-curricular activities.
    • Regularly monitor progress in developing their Proficiency in English using an EAL Assessment Framework.
    • Offer early careers advice and support that will enable the student to apply for and access an appropriate Post 16 placement. This should include choosing appropriate options for the students’ interests and their future.
    • Seek support from EMTAS.
    • Consider student’s voice to facilitate successful transition to Post 16. Offer early careers advice and support to enable the student to apply for and access an appropriate Post 16 placement.
    • Discuss expectations around work ethics, revisions and exams with students and parents.
    • Ensure both parents and students can access and know how to use school IT systems.
    • Reduce GCSE options using available time to boost Proficiency in English and support access to the curriculum.
    • Choose sets appropriate to their cognitive ability rather their current level of language proficiency in English.
    • Plan for and implement classroom strategies that enable EAL learners to access the curriculum in all subjects and all lessons.
    • Encourage the student to use their first language (L1) to facilitate access to the curriculum.
    • Teach and embed study skills to promote independence including deconstructing exam questions and model answers.
    • Regularly monitor progress in developing Proficiency in English using an EAL Assessment Framework.
    • Offer Community Languages GCSEs and Functional Skills qualifications for late arrivals.
    • Seek support from EMTAS.
  • GCSE Community Languages

    There are many reasons for maintaining and developing the first language. In addition to building self-esteem and a positive sense of identity, research shows high levels of proficiency in more than one language have cognitive benefits for learners and can accelerate the learning of additional languages.

    In promoting and valuing other languages, West Sussex schools contribute to the excellent results in GCSE examinations in a number of community languages, thus enabling many of our bilingual young people to achieve their full potential.

    Taking a qualification in the pupil’s home language at a GCSE level provides an additional opportunity for pupils to achieve excellent results and better prospects for the future.

    To be successful the candidate must be fluent in all four domains of language (speaking, listening, reading and writing) as all four areas are assessed.

    EMTAS do not manage or oversee delivery of these exams.

    On request, EMTAS staff could serve as interlocutors during the speaking element of the exam. Currently, EMTAS can facilitate the speaking element in Polish, Portuguese, Bangla, Lithuanian and Russian.

    EMTAS staff are not examiners and exam officers will need to brief them on up-to-date exam regulations and expectations. In order to prepare, staff will need access to exam materials in advance.

    Want to know more?

    Find further information regarding GCSE Community Languages on the relevant exam board websites:

    Functional Skills Qualifications

    An alternative to GCSEs for EAL pupils who arrived in the UK late in KS4 or who find a standard GCSE qualification too hard to access.

    Functional Skills qualifications (English, Maths and ICT) may be taken at a number of levels (Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1 and Level2) and teachers are able to pitch the qualification to suit a learner’s needs.

    These qualifications offer progression to GCSEs or vocational pathways and offer a sound platform to Post 16 opportunities.

    Candidates studying towards these qualifications will develop their speaking and communication, listening, reading and viewing and writing in English and will be assessed in these skills.

    They will learn to write functional texts or messages, read and understand everyday texts, make contributions to communicate and make themselves understood in familiar situations.

    Further information regarding Functional Skills qualifications is available from the Edexcel website.

    More information

    See information on the EAL assessments page.

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