As work continues as part of the Erasmus+ Mifamily project, all partners are currently examining the use of family learning and the challenges faced by migrant families in education in each partner country.
In Ireland, there are a wide range of difficulties facing migrant children in Irish schools who need English language support as identified by numerous reports into the area. The report “Understanding the Challenges of Immigration for Education” identifies that approximately 60% of migrant children in Irish schools need English language support. This is roughly in keeping with research such as that of Christensen and Stanat which notes that “Not surprisingly, these students are at an even greater disadvantage when it comes to reading”. This is also noted in the OECD reviews of migrant education: Ireland, which notes that non-native English speaking students (who do not English at home) require extra support in achieving appropriate proficiency levels not only in “social” English, but also in “academic” English to be able to fully participate in education.
In Ireland in 2008, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) distributed English Language Assessment Kits (https://www.ncca.ie/media/3306/eal-fv_1.pdf), which were sent to all primary schools. These kits allow teachers to identify the initial language proficiency of students, soon after they start in school, in listening, speaking, reading and writing, and to plan for the appropriate supports. These were used in conjunction with “Follow-on tests” to monitor progress, identify strengths and weaknesses, highlight areas where language support must focus, and identify the point at which students are enabled to fully access the curriculum. The kits use A0 to B1 from the Council of Europe‟s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (https://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/source/framework_en.pdf). The NCCA also provided guidelines for teachers on English as an Additional Language (EAL) – https://www.into.ie/ROI/InfoforTeachers/SocialInclusion/LanguageSupport/ReportsResources/NCCA_EALGuidelines.pdf
For more on the Mifamily project (including the developed Training Curriculum on Family Learning for Migrants at school), please see https://mifamilyproject.com