EAL Learners’ Attainment Data
In summary, the latest attainment data show an enduring difference in attainment between bilingual
pupils and their English speaking peers. Whilst analysis shows that differences between the
attainment of bilingual learners and mother tongue English speaking pupils have narrowed over
time, the statistics also show very wide regional variations. Differences are largest in the Early
Years Foundation Stage and narrow significantly by the end of Key Stage 4. Overall differences are
smallest in inner and outer London.
Early Years Foundation Stage
In 2012, 56 per cent of EAL and bilingual children achieved a good level of development in the
EYFS compared to 65 per cent of children whose first language is English. The difference between
bilingual children meeting this benchmark and mother tongue English children has been narrowing
since 2007 but has shown an increase in 2012. In 2007, only a third (33 per cent) of bilingual
children met this benchmark compared to 48 per cent of mother tongue English speaking children.
Phonics Screening Check
In 2012, a new assessment was introduced for pupils at the end of Year 1. Six year old pupils were
asked to read (or rather decode phonetically) 40 words, some of which were real words and others
which were nonsense words. A pupil needed to read 32 out of the 40 words correctly to be
considered to have met the required standard. The outcomes of this check showed almost no
difference between the decoding ability of bilingual learners and mother tongue English learners.
58% of both bilingual and mother tongue English learners were able to decode 32 or more of the
words. Regional differences were evident however, including some areas like Leicester where a
higher proportion of bilingual learners than English mother tongue learners reached the required
Key Stage 1
In 2012, a lower percentage of bilingual pupils achieved the expected level (Level 2) in reading,
writing, mathematics and science at Key Stage 1 compared to pupils whose first language is
English. These gaps have narrowed over time. In reading, the difference was only 4 percentage
points in 2012 compared to 7 percentage points in 2008, and this was exactly the same in writing. In
mathematics, the difference has been reduced from 6 percentage points to 3 percentage points in the
same period. In science, the percentage point difference was 10 percentage points in 2008 and now
stands at 7 percentage points based on teacher assessment.
Key Stage 2
In 2011, the local and regional tables show that 72 per cent of EAL and bilingual pupils achieved
the expected level (Level 4) in both English and mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2 compared to
75 per cent of pupils whose first language is English. The percentage point difference has narrowed
since 2007 when it stood at 7 percentage points to the current level of 3 percentage points.The
national tables show that only 70% of bilingual pupils reached this benchmark in 2011. This
difference is because the national figures include „overseas pupils‟ who were subsequently
discounted (as outlined above) whereas these pupils are not included in the local and regional
figures. Therefore local and regional figures do not sum up to the national figures.
Key Stage 3
Key Stage 3 tests have been optional since 2008. Statistics are therefore no longer collected.
However How do Pupils Progress During Key Stages 2 and 3 presents statistical analysis of pupils‟
progress in reading, writing and maths during years 3-9, based on a sample of termly teacher
assessments for over 70,000 pupils in 10 Local Authorities. This research report suggests that EAL
and bilingual learners tend to 'catch up' in this phase, particularly in reading, by making more
progress from their lower than average KS2 results.
Pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL) make more progress in all three subjects.
This represents “catching up” with other pupils, who tend to have higher prior attainment levels at
Key Stage 1. The biggest difference is in reading, with smaller differences in writing and maths.
Most of the differences between pupils with and without EAL occur in the proportions making 2 or
more sub-levels of progress, rather than at the margin between any progress and no progress. Pupils
with EAL tend to be more likely to make more than one sub-level of progress per term, but in years
8 and 9, this becomes mixed with higher proportions dropping backwards over the year.
Source How do Pupils Progress During Key Stages 2 and 3
Key Stage 4
In 2011, the national figures show that 55.8 per cent of EAL and bilingual learners gained 5 A*-C
GCSEs including English and Mathematics compared to 58.5 per cent of English only students.
This is a 2.7 percentage point difference compared to a 2.5 percentage point difference in 2007.
The regional and local figures (which do not include students who are 'discounted' from the results
as they have been in the country for less than two years) showed a reduced difference - 57.5 per cent
of EAL and bilingual learners gained 5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Mathematics compared
to 58.5 per cent of English only students. The figures for any 5 good GCSEs were 80.8 per cent for
bilingual students and 80.4 per cent for English only students. Bilingual students in Outer London
were most likely to achieve 5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Mathematics, whilst those in
Yorkshire and Humber were the least likely to do so. The Yorkshire and Humber region has the
largest and most persistent attainment gap, followed by the South West, and East of England.
A higher proportion of bilingual students achieved the expected level in progress in English than
those whose first language is English. 78.1 per cent of EAL students achieved the expected level of
progress in English, compared with 71.1 per cent of English only students, a gap of 6.9 percentage
points. The gap was wider for mathematics; 75.8 per cent of bilingual students compared with 63.6
per cent of students whose first language is English, a gap of 12.2 percentage points.
Information obtained by NALDIC as part of a recent Freedom of Information request showed that in
2011 the average point scores for bilingual pupils were higher in the following subjects: Biology;
Chemistry; Physics; Mathematics; Statistics; Religious Studies; French; German; and Spanish. In
contrast, bilingual pupils average point scores were lower in: Additional Applied Science;
Geography; History; English; English Literature; PE/Sports Studies and Music.