Consultation on potential changes to the delivery of the English as an Additional Language Services (EALS) Parents, carers and community stakeholders

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Closes 30 Nov 2019

Introduction

What is the English as an Additional Language Service (EALS)?

EALS work in schools, providing specialist teachers and Bilingual Support Officers (BSOs) to support pupils who need help with learning English.  They help pupils settle into school when they first arrive and give them additional English language teaching and bilingual support in order that they can access the curriculum.

EAL teachers provide advice and training for schools. The service can also help communication and understanding between home and school, including interpeting at parent meetings and other meetings, translating letters and making phone calls home.  EALS currently support 288 pupils in primary and secondary schools.

Why might East Sussex County Council need to cease the provision of EALS?

Every September, through the Schools' Forum, representatives of all maintained schools in East Sussex vote on whether to agree to jointly fund the EAL service to support maintained schools and enable East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to provide this service on their behalf.  This provides maintained schools with guaranteed access to support, in the most cost effective way.  Making sure support is provided to children with EAL is the responsibility of individual schools, not the Local Authority.

When a school converts to an academy, or if schools do not agree to jointly fund the service through Schools' Forum, the funding that is identified for EAL support is kept by the school and they decide how to provide support.  These schools and academies then have the option to purchase support from EALS.  As more and more schools have converted to academies, East Sussex County Council has had less direct funding due to a reduced level of purchase from academies.  This has reduced available funding for a central EAL service.

If schools decide not to continue to fund the EAL service, the funding available to support pupils with EAL will not reduce.  Instead of coming to the Local Authority it will be held by individual schools for them to use for their own pupils.  Local schools' responsibility to support pupils with EAL will not change.

Schools' Forum: a representative group of all schools across East Sussex who make decisions on financial matters relating to schools.

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