This briefing has been updated following the release of examination results in summer 2020.
Statistics from the most recent School Census, published in June 2015, estimate that 1.2 million schoolchildren in England, 17.2% of all pupils, have a first language other than English. This varies widely by local authority, ranging from 1.3% of pupils in Redcar & Cleveland to 73.5% of pupils in Tower Hamlets.
There is currently no financial support provided to schools by central Government specifically to support pupils with English as an additional language (EAL). Schools could previously receive funding from the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG), which was introduced in 1999. This provided funding based on numbers of children from underachieving ethnic minority groups and of pupils with EAL. In April 2011, EMAG, then at approximately £200m, was mainstreamed into the wider schools grant.
However, some schools do currently receive additional funding from local authorities based on the number of pupils with EAL. Central Government money is distributed to individual schools through local authorities and schools forums. In drawing up the local funding formulas used by local authorities to distribute money to maintained schools, schools forums can decide whether or not to include a funding factor for pupils with EAL. They can also decide the cash value of the factor if they do decide to include one.
Government funding rules stipulate, however, that the factor, if included, can only be paid in respect of bilingual children in their first three years of compulsory schooling in the UK. Local authorities and schools forums can choose to use indicators based on one, two or three years, and can set separate values for primary and secondary pupils.
Academy (non-maintained) schools are not funded directly by the local authority, and are instead funded by the Education Funding Agency (EFA). However, the EFA uses the local funding formula supplied by the local authority to calculate particular academies’ funding – so in areas where an EAL factor is included in the local formula, academies should also receive payment in respect of qualifying pupils with EAL.
Whether or not a school receives additional funding for pupils with EAL will therefore vary from area to area, as will the amount of any extra payment they receive. More information on local authority funding formulas can be found in the EFA’s Schools revenue funding 2015 to 2016: operational guide.
In addition, the least fairly funded local authorities in 2015-16 will receive a share of £390m additional funding. The calculation of least fairly funded authorities comes from a calculated minimum funding level based on five pupil characteristics, including pupils with EAL (the current minimums for EAL are set at £466 per primary pupil and £1,130 per secondary pupil). More information on this can be found in the Department for Education’s Fairer schools funding: arrangements for 2015 to 2016.
The Government has also been attempting to bring in a national schools funding formula for a number of years. Although this is not yet in place, previous consultations on a national formula have included proposals for additional funding for pupils with EAL. Background information can be found in the Commons Library briefing paper, School funding: moving towards a national funding formula.
The Daily Telegraph, April 2, 2015
Teachers are struggling to cope with an influx of foreign students speaking a total of 300 different languages, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has said.
The Times Educational Supplement, January 30, 2015
The academic achievement of native English speakers does not suffer if they attend schools with a high proportion of pupils who speak a different first language, according to a report.
telegraph.co.uk, January 7, 2015
A new tool, launched by the Education Endowment Foundation, will give schools the chance to compare their performance with other similar schools across the country.
The Daily Telegraph, October 14, 2014
Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University find that children who speak at least two languages in the home perform better than monolingual pupils at primary school.
The Independent, June 27, 2014
Schoolchildren from white working-class homes should be entitled to the same kind of remedial language support as pupils who have English as a second language, because without extra help they are falling behind their foreign-speaking classmates, research has found.
Asked by: McCabe, Steve
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what programmes her Department directly funds for the teaching of English to primary school students who do not speak English as a first language.
Answering member: Mr David Laws
The Department for Education is not directly funding any programmes for the teaching of English to primary school pupils with English as an additional language (EAL). Schools are responsible for ensuring that their provision meets the needs of the range of their pupils, including those with EAL. The school funding arrangements provide flexibility to enable schools and local authorities to respond to their pupils’ needs.
05 Jan 2015 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 219240
Asked by: McCabe, Steve
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much her Department has spent on programmes for the teaching of English to (a) primary and (b) secondary school students who do not speak English as a first language in each of the last five academic years.
Answering member: Mr David Laws
The Department for Education does not allocate specific funding for the teaching of English to pupils with English as an additional language (EAL). The funding arrangements enable local authorities to allocate a proportion of their funding to schools on the basis of local need, including by the number of their pupils with EAL to support their overall education. The per-pupil rate for this funding is decided locally and can therefore reflect local circumstances.
05 Jan 2015 | Written questions | Answered | House of Commons | 219239
Asked by: Lord Quirk
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to address the concerns of HM Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills, Sir Michael Wilshaw, that schools “faced with an influx of children from other countries” need to be given “the resources and capacity to deal with it”.
Answering member: Lord Nash
As part of our plan for education the Government is ensuring that local authorities have the resources and flexibility to provide the school places needed by their communities.
We are giving councils £5 billion to spend on new school places over the course of this parliament and have announced a further £2.35 billion to create the places needed by September 2017. This has already enabled local authorities to create 260,000 additional pupil places between May 2010 and May 2013, with many more in the pipeline for September 2015.
Funding for the day-to-day running of a school is based primarily on the number of pupils in the school. Local authorities are able to allocate additional funding for pupils with particular needs – including pupils for whom English is not their first language.
10 Nov 2014 | Written questions | Answered | House of Lords | HL2621
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