EAL/D support is falling short

English Language Provision is an important component of school planning and the allocation of specialist EAL/D teachers should be a priority if schools are to support the educational needs of their EAL/D students.

The union encourages EAL/D teachers to join with their Federation workplace committees to discuss filling EAL/D staffing entitlements with qualified specialists. The use of EAL/D staffing allocations and the EAL/D equity loading flexible funding component provided to schools must be directed to meeting the needs of this targeted student group as well as the professional learning needs of their teachers.

While significant additional resources have been provided to schools in the support of students acquiring English, Federation is aware that not all 1000 full-time equivalent EAL/D teacher positions have been permanently appointed. Further exacerbating this shortfall in permanent specialist EAL/D positions is that not all of our schools appear to understand or comply with departmental policies pertaining to EAL/D support. There is no shortage of policy in this area, including the Multicultural Education Policy, English Language Provision School Planning and Reporting: Equity Funding Support Package, Planning EAL/D Support, Supporting EAL/D students, EAL/D School Evaluation Framework and other linked policy areas such as Anti-Racism and supporting students from refugee backgrounds. All provide guidelines and effective practice advice for schools in the provision of specialist support for EAL/D students and the teachers of EAL/D students.

EAL/D Advice to Schools 2020 states: “EAL/D specialist teachers are appointed to schools to design targeted, curriculum-based English language instruction for EAL/D students and to assist in the delivery of teaching programs that meet students’ particular English language learning needs. In supporting whole school programs and initiatives, EAL/D teachers focus on the English language and literacy learning of EAL/D students relative to the needs of the learner and to curriculum outcomes. This is achieved through co-designed teaching programs.”

EAL/D teachers must be employed in a way that is respectful of their specialist training and expertise. Maximising their role in the support of EAL/D programs will enhance our students’ educational outcomes. Of critical importance to note is the Memorandum to principals, DN/08/00291, which states: “EAL/D teachers are to be used to support the delivery of EAL/D curriculum programs and cannot be used in place of casual relief teachers or for creating smaller class sizes”.

Please contact your local Federation Organiser or the Multicultural Officer via [email protected] for further advice and support if needed.