English language proficiency

The loading for English language proficiency is a resource allocation to support students learning English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) who are migrants, refugees or humanitarian entrants or the children of migrants, refugees or humanitarian entrants.

Key messages

  • This loading is to be used to support the English language learning of EAL/D students in your school in the year allocated.
  • This loading may be allocated as a teaching component, as flexible funding or a combination of both.
  • Teaching allocations should be filled by qualified EAL/D teachers wherever possible.
  • Flexible funding can be used to employ EAL/D teaching staff (for example $22,984 equals approximately 0.2 full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching allocation at standard cost), to provide EAL/D professional learning for teachers or bilingual support for students.
  • This loading may be combined with funding from other sources to support the needs of EAL/D students.
  • Strategic Improvement Plans must outline how the needs of EAL/D students will be addressed. Accountability for the effective use of the EAL/D funding to improve student learning occurs through the Annual Report.

How are EAL/D students identified?

The English as an additional language or dialect learning progression, developed by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), is used to collect data annually about students’ phases of English language acquisition from schools across the State. English language proficiency is described as one of the four phases of learning:

  • beginning
  • emerging
  • developing
  • consolidating.

The data for all four EAL/D phases supports planning for learning, and informs the allocation of resources through the English language proficiency equity loading, to support English as an additional language or dialect learners.

A review of the English language proficiency equity loading methodology

A review of the English language proficiency equity loading methodology considered 5 years of English language proficiency equity loading data. Rigorous and extensive modelling by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) was used to review the methodology.

As a result of the review the English language proficiency equity loading methodology was revised and strengthened to deliver a more equitable distribution of the loading.

The review of the methodology identified 2 key risk factors:

  • The risk of a student not meeting National Minimum Standards by the time they finished school.
  • The risk of a student not progressing to the highest phase of English language proficiency by the time they finished school.

Other findings include:

  • Students from refugee backgrounds are more than twice as likely not to meet the identified risk factors.
  • Students most at risk were those at the early phases of learning English who had been enrolled in an Australian school for the shortest time in high school and upper primary.

How is the English language proficiency equity loading calculated?

Collection of data to inform the equity loading for English language proficiency is conducted in June each year via the English as an additional language or dialect annual survey. The student data collected each year through the enrolment and registration number (ERN) database includes EAL/D phase of English language proficiency, scholastic year, length of time in an Australian school and visa subclass.

This student data is used to calculate a school’s relative English language proficiency need using a methodology that includes evidence-based weightings for different elements.

To address identified risk factors, new weightings have been calculated for each of the four English language proficiency phases:

  • a revised length of time in an Australian school measure has been applied
  • an increased weighting for refugee students has been calculated.

The new methodology targets resources to address the increasingly short time EAL/D students in high school and upper primary school have to learn English and engage with an increasingly complex curriculum.

English language proficiency loading

In 2022, the equity loading for English language proficiency delivers resources to approximately 203,000 students in 1,581 public schools. The total allocation of school-based EAL/D teacher positions remains at 1,000 FTE.

Schools with newly arrived and refugee students continue to receive additional resources through the targeted (individual student) support component of the Resource Allocation Model (RAM).

Intensive English Centres and the Intensive English High School continue to have their own resourcing arrangements separate to the resources allocated under this equity loading.

Fund allocation

The EAL/D rate is determined by the total funding available for distribution and the total weighted EAL/D need for all students.

Schools receive their equity allocation for English language proficiency as a staffing allocation and/or a flexible funding component. The use of a flexible funding component enables a more equitable allocation of resources and ensures that all schools with students learning English as an additional language or dialect receive an English language proficiency resource allocation.

Each year schools experience fluctuations in English language proficiency equity funding in response to changes in enrolment patterns and identified need in individual schools. Schools are resourced according to need so it is anticipated that under this loading there will be a degree of change from year to year as students progress through the phases of learning English.

The criteria for calculating the English language proficiency staffing component remains the same:

  • total 1,000 FTE
  • minimum allocation 0.2 FTE
  • maximum allocation 6.0 FTE
  • incremental allocation 0.2 FTE

A minimum of $2,400 is provided to a school. This can be used by teachers to access professional learning about how to support students to develop their English language proficiency.

A maximum of $700,000 is allocated to any one school to ensure that resources for this loading can be provided to all schools with students with English language proficiency needs.

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