As experts in assessment, we believe it is our duty to provide a forum to debate key educational issues. This event focused on English as an Additional Language (EAL).
The proportion of primary school children speaking other languages at home has doubled in the past decade. The DfE estimates that nearly one million pupils do not speak English as a first language (schools census January 2011).
It is hard to spot a 'gifted and talented' pupil if they are held back by language challenges. It is also hard to spot those with genuine educational needs. What impact does this have on teachers and the education of mainstream students? How can we ensure every child can access the whole curriculum?
Cambridge Assessment addressed the following questions during the conference:
1. How might all subject teachers have a grounding in language teaching nowadays?
2. To what extent can we say that 'every teacher is a language teacher'?
3. How can we be sure that potential 'gifted and talented' non-native speakers are being identified as such?
4. How can teachers ensure that silent or challenged non-native speakers are not misdiagnosed as having special educational needs?
5. In what ways do schools encourage the learning and maintenance of students' mother tongues?