The daily experience of many teachers in England is that the schools where they work are becoming increasingly diverse. As microcosms of wider society, classrooms reflect global trends – namely, that due to globalisation and transnational movement of the population, many pupils arrive at school already speaking more than one language, with English being their second, third or fourth language.
This linguistic diversity is accompanied by pupils’ diversity in prior exposure to English, prior experiences of schooling, their length of residence in England and their social circumstances (Cenoz & Gorter, 2015; Foley et al, 2018).
Official figures show a marked increase in the last 15 years in the number of pupils with English as an additional language (EAL): according to last year’s schools census, there are now 998,829 pupils in state-funded primary schools, which means that the numbers of EAL learners have more than doubled since 2006.
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