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The opening session at the "Talking Equalities" conference in Devizes this Monday was led by Mike Treadaway of the FFT. He presented lots of interesting analysis around the theme of who our "vulnerable learners" are. Part of his presentation looked at the achievement of learners of EAL, and particularly at those who first appear on school census records in later year groups. I think it's a fair assumption that the majority of these will be pupils who have migrated to England when school age.

Mike's kindly given me permission to share his findings. Looking at KS1 to KS2 progression:

KS1 assessments are recorded in the left hand column, with the columns to the right showing mean KS2 attainment for non-EAL pupils and for pupils who entered the English school system in YR, Y1 and Y2. It's clear that the later the pupil entered an English school, the greater progress expectations for KS2 should be (when using KS1 assessment as a baseline.)

If anything, the results when looking at KS2 to KS4 progress are even more marked:

You'll notice that, for example, EAL learners who attained a 3A in KS2 assessment could reasonably be expected to achieve a C- average at GCSE if they entered English school during KS2.

While these results may not be wholly unexpected (and perhaps again highlight that the results of standardised assessments don't always fully reflect EAL learners' abilities), they do reinforce the need to be ambitious and to expect accelerated progress when setting targets for EAL learners. It's extremely useful to have this level of detailed evidence. It also suggests that knowing when an EAL learner started is a key piece of data in getting a full picture of what they might achieve.

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