keep themselves informed of the latest developments in the field. Reduced
funding also had an impact on the resources available to teachers. In two
schools where there were 40% EAL learners, a language support teacher was
provided to each school. We observed that these teachers designed their own
teaching materials for language support. Where previously language teachers
may have gone to the local multicultural centre, this resource for social and
cultural interaction with other teachers in similar situations had disappeared.
In terms of leadership, we found that the responsibility for looking after the day-
to-day linguistic needs of EAL students was mostly delegated by the principal to
the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). This implied that EAL lear-
ners’ needs were seen not as an asset but as requiring special needs help. Attitudes
of the headteachers and the SENCOs were influenced by policy changes. The dis-
mantling of language specific Section Eleven funding was blamed for the unsatis-
factory realities facing teachers in state-funded schools.
One head teacher was supportive of language learning, but she lamented the
fact that her school was not succeeding in keeping language teachers for long
because of the rising house prices in the south of England in 2003 and 2004.
Given the low teacher salaries, she felt that well-qualified and experienced
teachers moved out of the area within two years, making it extremely difficult
for the school to feel stable and plan ahead.
Two out of three schools were located near a mosque, where there was
occasional provision for extra help with homework for students. Students
went there mainly to learn Arabic for religious instruction. They were also
able to communicate with each other in their first language (Punjabi
in a pedagogical setting. This was something they were not encouraged to do
at their normal school. We were told by the language support teacher that
this type of instruction was either done on a voluntary basis or the local