& Carers

When English is not your home langua ge


Sometimes children hear and use English and one or more additional home languages. These children are called Multilingual or children who have English as an Additional Language (EAL)


If you have any other questions about multilingual children please contact us via the Speak Up Salford website and we can call you back. Our e-mail address is


The Literacy trust has tips for talking to your child in these 18 home languages



6 Frequently Asked Questions about Multilingual Children


Q1: Should we stop speaking our home language and talk to our child in English?


A: No- it is important that you carry on using your home language.


Here’s why:

  • You will be more confident and relaxed using your home language

  • Home languages and give your child a sense of identity and a way of communicating with family and community

  • Home language skills give children a strong foundation for learning other languages. 

  • This will give your child really good language models


Q2: Do multilingual children start to speak later than children speaking one language?


A: Not usually.  most children start to speak around the same time and that young children learn two languages as naturally as learning one.



Q3: My child switches between languages- are they confused?


A: When children are learning two or more languages they often switch between languages. This is very common in multilingual children and research shows that this will settle down as they learn the rules of their languages.


Sometimes children do this because they a word in one language but not the other. For example, if a child knows the word for 'ice cream' in one language and not the other they will use the word in the language they know rather than not asking for ice cream at all!


Q4 :My child only wants to speak English at home- what should we do about this?


A: It is helpful if you keep speaking your home  language, even if your  child answers in English.


Q5: How long will it take my child to learn English at nursery or school?


A: Some children learn English and another language from the start, other children don’t learn English until they start nursery or school.


The length of time it will take will vary from child to child.


Research suggests it can take up to 2 years to learn English to a level that your child can join in fully with friends English speaking friends and up to 7 years to develop to GCSE level.


If your child is a good communicator in their home language they are likely to learn English quite quickly because they will be hearing native English speakers all day.


Q6:Will learning two or more languages cause my child to have language difficulties?


No- being multilingual does not cause language difficulties.  However, if your child is having difficulties learning to use their home language, compared to other children you know  and they find it difficult to understand or use  this language then they will also have difficulties learning and using English and you may want ot seek help



Find out more

  • Click here to be taken to an article, produced by one of the top research centres in the UK, published in Nursery World  Magazine (2015). It is called Confused? Myths and Facts about growing up and learning two languages.

  • Click here for useful resource- NASSEA EAL Assessment Framework. This helps practitioners to observe, document and accelerate the ways bilingual children start to use English as a tool for learning in nursery/school, and then continue to develop their skills.



Local Initiatives

Early Years Initiatives

Our Early years team are currently working together with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, this includes a rollout of language screening of children using Wellcomm tool.

School Age Initiatives

This is an area currently under development. There are a number of exciting developments to look forward to in the upcoming months in regards to how we work in schools.


 Enhanced Services initiatives

The Enhanced Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) Service offer bought-in input in schools. This might involve universal input, individual or group interventions. The Enhanced Team also support schools and staff to develop communication friendly environments and deliver training. For further information, please contact Fiona Taylor –


I have found working with the speech therapist very beneficial. She helps me to set achievable goals for the children by coming into the nursery and interacting with the children and getting to know them. She talks to us on a regular basis and updates us on what targets she would like the children to achieve next. She teaches us new strategies to use with the children which we find really useful, we try to incorporate this into everyday activities. Parent’s often comment on how much they appreciate the advice from our therapist. They also comment on how much progress their children have made since visiting her. We don’t know what we would do without her!

Anneka Williamson, Children’s Centre Practitioner

“It brought different activities to his usual routine which he enjoyed and encouraged him to participate”


“I have two children who are supported by the speech and language therapy service. The therapists have lots of patience with my children. Both Christipher and Marcus have come on a lot. Marcus now has lots more confidence and he talks much more in the classroom. Christipher isn’t as stressed anymore, his therapist has taught me exactly what to do. If I need any help, she is very easy to approach. Before I try new things with Christipher I can check with her first. The therapist knows him very well. She has worked wonders with him. Without her, I wouldn’t know what to do.”

Nicola, Mum of Christipher and Marcus

"My son Lewis has been attending speech and language for a few years. He has come on briliantly and is more confident. His speech is so much clearer now. He also enjoys the sessions. Jean gives me loads of ideas about how to continue helping him at home. He gets work sheets to take home which also he enjoys doing. Lewis has a short attention span and can find it difficult to concentrate for long, but Jean makes it very interesting for Lewis and different every session."

Tracy, Lewis

"I am Megan’s mum. Megan was identified as having speech and language difficulties when she was at primary school. Since this time she has been supported by the Education Inclusion Service Speech and Language team. This has made a huge difference to the development of Megan’s speech and language. Not only do they support Meg, they also support the staff at the school in delivering the programmes that Megan needs. The team are also there to answer any questions that I may have and will send us regular information on Megan’s target’s, what they are and if she has achieved them. Megan enjoys the sessions that she attends at school and they are delivered at times that try not to impact too greatly on her daily school life."

Hayley Robinson, Megan

EPs and SALT frequently work together during Multi agency meetings to Clarify individual concerns and strengths. We develop joint objectives, that are regularly reviewed And evaluated to improve outcomes for children and YP. Parents and teachers comment that this work is effective and helps to increase their Understanding and knowledge. Jointly we increase schools capacity, through conversations and training, to meet the needs of their pupils.

Joanne Snee- Educational Psychologist

“I couldn't be happier Grayson has come on so much in these 6 weeks. It has helped 100%. Thank you so much”

Parent of Grayson

“The service has been really helpful, the staff also been very kind and experienced. My child has learnt and developed some new communication skills and I also as the mom have known new ways to help my child through. Thanks”

Anonymous Parent

“I have not tried to phone as I am deaf. I felt like I was listened to with the use of a BSL interpreter. My son enjoyed coming into the room and playing with the toys.”

Anonymous Parent