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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Feyisa Demie

Demie, F. & Lewis, K. (2018). Raising achievement of English as additional language pupils in schools: implications for policy and practice. Educational Review 70(4): 427-446.

Author(s) from Durham


This study looks at schools that serve English as an additional language (EAL) pupils and examines the factors behind their successful achievement. A complementary methodological approach of case studies and focus groups was used to explore performance and the views of teachers, governors, parents and pupils, and to evaluate and gather evidence on how well all pupils are achieving and the factors contributing to this. The main findings of the research identified strategies where schools were successful in raising achievement of pupils with EAL. Each case study school has its own character and emphasis but it is clear, from the evidence of the study, that they have common characteristics which underpin their success. These include providing strong leadership on equality and diversity, an understanding of pedagogy that best supported pupils with EAL, targeted support towards their progress, an inclusive curriculum which recognised and celebrated pupils’ cultural heritage and the use of performance data for school improvement which included the tracking of individual pupils’ progress and achievement. There are, however, some limitations to this study. While we do not aim to make generalisations from these case studies, we would argue that learning from the good practice in the case studies can make a difference to schools. The recommendation from this study is that there is a need for further research in different schools, Local Authorities (LAs) and regions in England to explore in detail what schools do differently, or more intensively, to support pupils with EAL.