Community Village


Download resource

Please enter your details to download this resource
Teacher smiling in classroom
Author: Isabelle Bridger-Eames, EAL specialist

The Early Career Framework was made compulsory in the UK in September 2021. It replaces the year-long NQT period. It is a two-year programme of support and development for new teachers after they complete initial teacher training. The Framework covers 8 main areas:

  1. High expectations
  2. How pupils learn
  3. Subject and curriculum
  4. Classroom practice
  5. Adaptive teaching
  6. Assessment
  7. Managing behaviour
  8. Professional behaviours

The Early Career Framework and EAL

All areas are relevant to and for the teaching and learning of our EAL pupils and ensuring they are successful in their learning. However, here we will look at two of the framework areas.

Successfully catering for your EAL pupils requires adaptive teaching and accurate assessment, which are sections 5 and 6 in the Early Career Framework. To adapt our teaching, we need to be mindful of the needs of individual pupils, understanding that pupils are likely to learn at different rates and require different levels and types of support from teachers.

Some key items to consider are as follows:

  • What stage of proficiency are learners at?
  • What are the language demands of your lesson? One way to identify this is to think about the vocabulary that you are using in terms of three tiers:
    • Tier 1 words are everyday words encountered in daily conversation, e.g. dog, go, happy. These usually do not need to be specifically taught.
    • Tier 2 words are those that provide access to more complex topics and discussions outside of the everyday, e.g. relative, vary, frown.
    • Tier 3 words are those that are relevant for a specific subject or content area. They are what we often call 'topic words', e.g. lava, circumference, sarcophagus.

Finding appropriate strategies

Once you have decided which tier the language demands of your lesson fall into, you can support your learners with appropriate strategies. For instance, pupils pre-learning the language for your lesson independently - or in a small group. Consider questions such as:

  • Are there opportunities for 'talk for reading and writing'?
  • Have you scaffolded these opportunities?
  • Are there also opportunities for pupils to speak without adult interference or adults overhearing all of the time?
  • Are some of these talking opportunities child-led?

Early Career Framework and EAL Assessment

As the Early Career Framework states, "good assessment can provide teachers with vital information about pupils' understanding and needs". In 2016, the Department for Education began collecting a new teacher-assessed measure of English proficiency for pupils with EAL, through the school census. Schools are asked to position each child on a five-point scale according to a judgement of 'best fit', with briefly described categories: New to English, Early Acquisition, Developing Confidence, Competent and Fluent.

To assess accurately, schools should be using an EAL continuum. Assessment frameworks, such as the EAL Assessment Framework from the Bell Foundation or the Common European Framework, can help to provide accurate and purposeful assessments of what a learner can do in English, as well as delivering a road map for progression to support the teaching of EAL learners. 

You can download a factsheet version of this article by clicking on the 'Download' buttons at the top and bottom of this page.


Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power, and pedagogy. Bilingual children in the crossfire. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Department for Education, Early Career Framework, January 2019,, Accessed 17/02/22.

Misselbrook, R. (2019). KS2 SATS: Why and How we Targeted Tier 2 Words. Accessed: 31/01/19.

Scott, C (2012) Teaching English as an Additional Language 5-11: A Whole School Resource, Routledge.

Scutt C., An introduction to the Early Career Framework, Accessed: 31/01/19.

Scutt C., The Early Career Framework: Useful links, resources and guidance.

Research Review, Accessed: 31/01/19.

Further learning - Blog

Created: Sun 6th Dec 2015

As the season ends and holidays are almost upon us (or in full swing in some cases!) we have provided you with some new Learning Village resources to support new-to-English EAL learners with Christmas vocabulary and language structures. 

Download here:

Christmas 1
Christmas 2
Christmas 3

Girl online learning
Created: Mon 29th Jun 2020

Transitioning successfully between extended home and school learning has been the struggle of every affected school, across the globe, since the onset of the pandemic. None of us could have predicted what was about to happen back in January of 2020 and we still struggle to comprehend the enormous scale of the struggle.

School closures, however your school has approached these, have had a huge impact on learner engagement. Even the most prepared schools have struggled to engage learners to the same extent as when learning in the classroom.

Created: Tue 30th Dec 2014

Including some ideas for EAL beginners

Whilst reading a book on reclaiming childhood ('Their name is today' by Johann Christoph Arnold) the chapter on 'learning differences and how to cater for them' triggered thoughts on teaching differences. At the end of the October article it was mentioned that EAL teaching should be evaluated in a different way due to the very nature of the subject and I shall try to clarify why.