Definition of EAL Terms

English as an Additional Language

Acknowledges that there are pupils who regularly use one or more languages in addition to English.


Term is acceptable for people of African and Caribbean origin. Varies whether people find it acceptable however. ‘Black and Asian’ is a preferable term. (DEREC 2003)


Can be used but most prefer to be referenced to their specific country or religion. For example – Indian/ Bangladeshi or Hindu/ Sikh. Younger people who are born in Britain may prefer the terms British Asians or British.


Bilingual here is taken to mean all pupils who use or have access to more than one language at home or at school-pupils who are living in and learning in English or more other languages. It does not necessarily imply full fluency in both languages’ (Aiming High DfES 2003)

Ethnic Origin

Any cohort, who has an ethnic origin, has a cultural tradition and a shared history. Other characteristics may be common geographical origin, common language, common religion or being a minority in a dominant group in a large community.

Minority Ethnic (M.E.)

Term applies to all who have an ethnic identity. The concept of minority ethnic can apply to any groups –including indigenous, white minorities.


Minority Ethnic and Traveller Attainment Service

People of colour

Term common in the USA and gaining popularity in Britain. (DEREC 2003)


Someone who is forced to flee their own country, who escapes to another country and is given refugee status by the government there. To qualify for refugee status, the person has to prove that they cannot return home; owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationally, membership of a particular social group or political opinion’’ (1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees).

Asylum seeker

An asylum seeker is 'a person who has crossed an international border in search of safety; and refugee status, in another country'. (Rutter, 1998 Refugee council.)

In the UK, a refugee is when a person’s asylum claim has been accepted. While waiting for a decision, the person is termed an asylum seeker.
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