EAL in the Mainstream Classroom

"There is a need to increase the evidence base of effective interventions for EAL pupils in the UK at risk of low attainment." Education Endowment Foundation

What is the EAL in the Mainstream Classroom Project?

The EAL in the Mainstream Classroom is a pilot project funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy, and delivered by Challenge Partners, in partnership with Hounslow Language Service and Lampton School.

The project aims to support EAL pupils in the mainstream classroom. It is designed to build expertise and capacity among classroom teachers so they can provide the best teaching and learning for EAL pupils, so reducing the need for specialist support.

At the core of approach is a focus on academic language, and the training would support classroom teachers’ use and understanding of grammar, core vocabulary, and spoken language, which are key to helping EAL pupils within a whole class context, and which are also likely to have benefits for children more broadly, especially those from a disadvantaged background.

Involvement in this evaluation project will provide half of the participating schools with funded, high quality, accredited training that aims to fundamentally transform the approach of classroom teachers to literacy across the curriculum.

The Univeristy of York will conduct a Randomised Control Trial with 120 Evaluation Schools over the course of the programme to assess the impact and effectiveness of the training on pupils. Half the schools will be randomly allocated to receive the training (intervention schools) and half will be allocating to continue with 'teaching as usual' (control schools). The training of Delivery Centres was completed in 2016-2017. The first cohort of Evaluation Schools are being trained during Phase 1 (2017-2018). A further group of Phase 2 Evaluation Schools are currently being recruited and will receive training in 2018-2019. The Impact Evaluation will continue until 2020, with the evaluation team due to publish their findings in 2021. 


Who is it for?

The pilot programme is initially targeting secondary schools in England, mainly in regions with a high percentage of EAL students. The evaluation will focus on teachers of KS4 pupils in History and Science. After the evaluation phase in 2017-2019, the aim is to take the programme to all schools in England.

How will impact be measured?

During 2016-2017, the trial project collected evidence of effectiveness of the new training materials, the early impact on Y10 EAL students and most importantly on teachers' pedagogy within the Delivery Centre schools. History and Science are the primary subjects of the evaluation. The impact of the study will be measured using pupils' GCSE results in History Science and English. This is being done in order to reduce the burden on participating schools. Data on broader secondary outcomes and impact on all students will also be gathered. The University of York have been commissioned by the EEF to conduct the Randomised Control Trial and Impact Evaluation.


Where are the current Delivery Centres?

At present we have Delivery Centres in the following locations in central and southern England. (Please note we are currently looking into the possibility of hosting the programme in other locations and we welcome applications from the north-west and north-east of England and subject to demand we will arrange to provide training in these regions): 



Apply now to join the pilot project

If you would like to become an evaluation school, please ensure you are able to meet the following criteria:

  • You have at least 14 Y9 EAL pupils with KS2 data, studying Science and at least 8 studying History. (These pupils will be in Y10 in 2018/19.) There may be crossover between these groups.

  • You can release two KS4 History and two KS4 Science teachers who will teach these pupils (14 across the two) in Y10 in 2018/19..


  • You can release at least one KS4 History and at least one KS4 Science teacher who teach at least these 8 History and 14 Science pupils.

  • These teachers can commit to attending  3 days of training and complete all pre and post workshop tasks between Sept 2018- July 2019, if your school is allocated to the intervention group. 


  • The school agrees to provide the evaluation team with the necessary basic pupil data (including UPN and EAL/fluency status) and all teachers involved in the programme agree to complete a brief baseline, and 2 follow up online surveys over the lifetime of the trial. Classroom vists and bried teacher interviews will also need to be conducted in a sub-sample of schools.


Following the submission of data, schools will be randomly allocated to etiher: 

  • The Control Group: In which case the school will receive £1500 in exchange for providing their data to the evaluation team.



  • The Intervention Group: In which case the school will receive funded places for their History and Science teachers on the three workshop EAL in the Mainstream Classroom Programme in 2018-2019. 


For more information about the programme, and to see FAQs, click here. To see the fantastic feedback from previous programme delegates, click here.

Apply to become an Evaluation School

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about the project and the Delivery Centres in your area, please get in touch with us by calling 0207 803 4973 or by emailing eal@challengepartners.org