Huge rise in foreign students
SHOCK figures show the number of foreign students coming into Fenland schools from the families of migrant workers has almost doubled in a year – and Wisbech is the hardest hit. There are growing fears that not enough cash is being provided by the Governm
SHOCK figures show the number of foreign students coming into Fenland schools from the families of migrant workers has almost doubled in a year - and Wisbech is the hardest hit.
There are growing fears that not enough cash is being provided by the Government to tackle this massive rise.
Malcolm Moss, MP for North-East Cambridgeshire, said Fenland schools were suffering from a lack of funding to support the increase in the numbers of pupils for whom English is not the first language.
"Unfortunately this rise has not come in line with increases in funding to support these school children," he said.
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"Additionally schools do not have advance warning of new arrivals which makes planning very difficult."
Figures released to Mr Moss by Gordon Jeyes, deputy chief executive in the office of children and young people at Cambridgeshire County Council, indicate Fenland schools will have 450 pupils whose first language is not English.
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A year ago, says Mr Jeyes, there were only 260 young people in this category, and the county is directing what resources it can muster "for building capacities in schools to respond to this challenge".
Mr Jeyes says the Cambridgeshire Race Equality and Diversity Service is developing its bi-lingual team, recruiting and training members of the new migrant communities.
And the county is training community languages teachers and one Wisbech school is offering extra-curricular Polish classes "which are very well attended".
However, Mr Moss believes these and other initiatives are not enough. "Funding is not available to allow teachers to be trained appropriately and schools are not being given enough funding to deal with the problem of teaching the national curriculum to children whose first language is not English," he said.