English Language Learning

Definition of an English Language Learner (ELL)

According to the BC Ministry of Education (2013), ELLs are those whose primary language, or languages, of the home are other than English and who may therefore, require additional services to develop their potential in BC’s school system.

ELLs may be immigrants or be born in Canada. They are entitled to educational services in BC public schools upon verification of their age, residency, and immigration status.

International students are not considered as ELLs but may receive language support.


According to the BC Ministry of Education (2012, p. 1), “School-age students who have refugee status or are refugee claimants, live in British Columbia, and enroll in a BC public school are eligible for publicly-funded education and may also quality for English Language Learners services.”  

For more tips on how to support newcomers, please refer to this resource: http://cmascanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Supporting_Refugees/Caring%20for%20Syrian%20Refugee%20Children-final.pdf

BC Ministry of Education Resources

English Language Learning (ELL) Standards (2017): http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/kindergarten-to-grade-12/teach/pdfs/ell/ell-standards-full.pdf#page=4

English Language Learners:  A Guide for Classroom Teachers (1999): http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/administration/kindergarten-to-grade-12/english-language-learners/classroom.pdf