Non-English speaking pupils reaches record high
Tuesday, 29th April 2008
A government report today shows that the share of pupils in England's schools speaking English as a second language has reached a new high.
The latest figures translate to around 470,080 pupils in primary schools and 354,300 pupils in seconday schools.
It’s clear that this trend is putting extra demands on schools and teachers alike, who are struggling to cope with the numbers of children arriving from abroad with little or no English. In fact, local authorities have been calling for emergency funds to help them respond to these demands on education and other services.
Currently, there’s no specific money designated to ESOL training (English to Speakers of other Languages) in state schools. The government needs to make money available but this shouldn’t come out of individual school budgets, as some schools are obviously more in need than others, particuarly in urban areas.
What’s required is a coherent nationwide strategy for ESOL provision. In particular, SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Coordinators) and EAL link teachers (English as Additional Language) need to be given proper advice and support about training provision. There also needs to be more funding to help children adapt culturally at their new schools, enabling them to integrate and feel part of school life.