Best Practice

A trio of challenges: Preparing EAL learners for transition

Transition from year 6 to 7 is a challenging time for all pupils, especially for those using English as an additional language. Sarah Moodie offers ideas, tips, resources and advice for how we can prepare our EAL pupils to make the move this September


The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) describes the transition process (a change between classes, year groups and settings) as presenting a “trio of challenges” (EEF, 2021).

These are: the lack of curriculum continuity and subsequent difficulties for learners of adapting, the “newness” of secondary whole school systems, routines and expectations, and developing healthy peer networks.

This echoes Professor Jindal-Snape’s definition of transition as “an on-going process of psychological, social and educational adaptation” (Jindal-Snape, 2018).

If these challenges exist for all learners, they are surely exacerbated for learners using English as an additional language (EAL), particularly those newest to the UK and newest to English.

Combined with the additional challenges and stresses faced by refugees and those seeking asylum, and the legacy of Covid-induced partial school closures in terms of learning and language loss, this trio of challenges becomes even tougher. Therefore, the need to find ways of preparing our learners to meet them is ever stronger.

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