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Currently over 20 languages are spoken in East Ayrshire including Polish, Russian, Arabic, Latvian, Chinese and Urdu.

The English as an Additional Language (EAL) team is part of East Ayrshire Support Team (EAST).  It provides support for children and young people from 2 to 18 years who:

  • have little or no English
  • have limited English
  • appear fluent in English but are not achieving to their full potential

The EAL team is made up of teachers, bilingual assistants and a classroom assistant who work in Early Childhood Centres and schools across East Ayrshire on a peripatetic basis. A principal teacher has first line responsibility for the EAL team.  

Staff within the EAL team undertake additional personal study to remain abreast of current best practice regarding EAL children and have links with national groups including the Scottish EAL Coordinating Council (SEALCC1)

Referral procedures

Request for assistance forms should be made to the principal teacher of the EAL team by schools and Early Childhood Centres. Educational establishments can also contact the EAL team for advice to support parents and carers and staff on meeting the needs of EAL children.

The EAL team contributes to the authority’s support policies and procedures to reflect best practice as detailed in the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2009 through:

  • consultation, liaison, advisory support
  • curriculum and staff development
  • direct teaching 
  • supporting early identification and assessment 

What the team does

Consultation, liaison, advisory support

  • Provides advisory support on meeting the needs of EAL children, including useful strategies and resources, to make the curriculum accessible
  • Provides advice to parents and carers on bilingualism
  • Provides advisory support and information on alternative courses and examinations for secondary staged pupils
  • Participates in multi-disciplinary meetings for planning and review

Curriculum and staff development

  • Provides guidance to colleagues in educational establishments who are making provision for EAL children
  • Delivers career-long professional learning (CLPL) opportunities for colleagues to increase knowledge and understanding in this area
  • Provides training on the use of appropriate technology. The use of Talking Pens, which help communication in a range of different languages, is encouraged.

Direct teaching

  • Prepares and assists in the preparation of teaching materials 
  • Provides direct teaching support across the curriculum as appropriate, as well as providing a monitoring role
  • Encourages the use of home languages and bilingual resources in the classroom, for example, bilingual glossaries, online dictionaries, iPads and apps

Support with assessment

  • Carries out initial assessments to help determine the level of English of children new to the authority
  • Carries out home language assessment of preschool EAL children to help build a holistic profile (conducted by the bilingual support assistants in Polish, Chinese  and Arabic)
  • Supports educational establishments to build  profiles of EAL children through holistic assessment
  • Supports educational establishments through contextual assessment of EAL children with additional needs
  • Liaises closely with other teams within EAST and agencies and partners to help meet the needs of EAL children 

Home links

Staff in the EAL team adopt a holistic approach in supporting EAL children, and close links are established with the families of children and young people.

The EAL team works closely with partners and agencies to help enable bilingual families to participate fully in their children’s education. These links are developed through dialogue, workshops and both formal and informal meetings. In addition, the team helps parents and carers at risk of isolation to engage within the community through a variety of projects.

The bilingual support assistants facilitate communication through the use of home languages.

Policy statement

Download the English as an Additional Language Policy Statement (PDF 1.44Mb).

English for speakers of other languages

English language support is also available for adults. Visit our English for speakers of other languages page for more information.

Contact Information

East Ayrshire Support Team (EAST)
Crosshouse Campus
Playingfield Road
Telephone: 01563 554974