Britain’s Schools Need More Resources for ‘Influx’ of Immigrant Children, Chief Schools Inspector Warns
Georgia Graham, Telegraph (London), October 29, 2014
Britain’s schools need more support to cope with an “influx” of immigrant children, Osted’s chief schools inspector has said.
Sir Michael Wilshaw said it was a “big issue” for Government if schools are being faced with a large number of new pupils from other countries without the resources to deal with them.
Speaking on LBC Radio Sir Michael said: “Schools need the resources to deal with that. When they’re faced with an influx of children from other countries, they need the resources and capacity to deal with it and if those resources aren’t there, that’s a big issue for Government. That’s the first thing and we’ll be producing reports on this quite soon.”
His comments will raise fresh concern that high levels of immigration are putting a strain on the education system.
Last week Michael Fallon, the Defence Minister claimed British towns are being “swamped” by immigrants and their residents are “under siege”, comments he later described as careless.
According to official figures, the number of schoolchildren speaking English as a second language has soared by a third in just five years. The proportion of non-native speakers in primary schools has now reached almost 1-in-5 following a year-on-year increase over the last decade. The number of pupils who speak another language in the home exceeded 1.1 million for the first time this year.
In some parts of London, children with English as a second language now make up as much as three quarters of the school roll, with around half of pupils being classified in towns and cities such as Slough, Luton and Leicester.
This summer a report by the Government”s official advisors on migration said that parts of Britain are “struggling to cope” with high levels of immigration that have put huge pressures on public services such as the NHS, schools and transport.
The major report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) said that immigration had caused the “composition of many local area populations to alter rapidly” and that such rapid change could lead to friction.
A separate report by Civitas said that classrooms would come under increased pressure in coming years due to uncontrolled immigration.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “As part of our plan for education we are making every effort to ensure local authorities have the resources and flexibility to provide the school places needed by their communities.
“We are giving councils £5billion to spend on new school places over this parliament–double the amount allocated by the previous government over an equivalent period – and a further £2.35billion to create the places needed by September 2017. This has already led to the creation of more than 260,000 new places.
“School funding is allocated based on pupil need, whether that is special educational needs or where English is not a pupil’s first language and should a school grow in a single year, local authorities can and do top up their funding to reflect that.”