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Ministry of Education.

ELIP Primary: Explanation of Stages

The Foundation Stage of the programme is for beginning English Language learners. It can also address the learning needs of older students whose readiness for English language acquisition is likely to have been affected by factors such as:

  • interrupted or no schooling
  • learning disabilities
  • low levels of L1 literacy
  • trauma
  • no prior exposure to English

Teachers of beginner intensive English classes may find Foundation Stage an appropriate additional tool for screening students’ entry level English language and literacy skills. Assessing students against outcomes, measured by identifying which of the learning components they have mastered, could be helpful in planning beginner class programmes, as students in these classes typically represent a wide range of proficiency and L1 literacy levels. 

Early Literacy Focus

Foundation and Stage 1 Outcomes overlap especially in Oral Interaction because the Foundation Stage student typically achieves English oracy skills in the same way and at approximately the same pace as their Stage 1 counterparts. Particular focus is given at Foundation Stage to explicit teaching of the initial literacy and oral language skills which are essential for all beginning English language learners. These are specified in the Teaching Components for these stages and must include a systematic phonemic awareness programme which explicitly teaches the names and sounds and the written forms of letters, consonants, consonant clusters, vowels, and vowel blends. They will also need a systematic vocabulary teaching and learning programme which allows them to master the first 500-1000 most frequent English words.


Students at Foundation Stage require specific support to achieve the literacy skills which underpin all successful reading and writing, as well as explicit support in developing their oral language in a range of domains. They need to develop an extensive sight vocabulary and to begin to establish clear links between the spoken and written systems of English with a systematic phonemic awareness programme. Foundation Stage outlines the learning of these skills across the key learning areas using student-centred methodologies and a range of appropriate teaching pproaches and strategies.

It should be noted that not all outcomes from one Stage may be achieved before the student moves from one stage to the next. Moreover, some students may be working at different levels in different modes: they may be working at Stage 1 in Oral Interaction, and Stage 2 in Writing, or Stage 2 in Reading, understanding and responding and Stage 1 in Writing. The choice of the Stage at which a student should be placed must be based on careful diagnostic and formative assessment.

Stage 1

There are some very simple short texts and some longer more complex texts in all strands of Stage 1. This is to allow for joint deconstruction and reconstruction of texts, alongside independent construction. The more complex texts, for example the text on Jean Batten or the text on turtles, may seem very difficult in comparison with the other Stage 1 texts. However, students can be shown how to write only one sentence under each of the text stages, but have seen a model of an expanded text. Much research on the comprehension and text production of English language learners suggests that they learn better when using more difficult texts with lots of support rather than highly simplified texts.

Stage 2

The text length increases in varying degrees for Stage 2, and the complexity of the sentence structures in the Reading and Writing strands also increases. In the Oral Interaction at Stage 2, learners have to listen for detail and produce more extended oral texts.

 Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4 and Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8

It is envisaged that the ELIP Primary Resource could be used in conjunction with Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4 and Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8 which are the Ministry of Education’s guideline documents for literacy learning across the curriculum. These documents are a rich source of research and guidance in effective teaching and learning, including “learning to learn” strategies and complement the ELIP Primary Resource.

Published on: 08 Jan 2018