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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 17:07 GMT
Rise in foreign language pupils
By Maggie Taggart
BBC News

Child writing - generic
Schools get extra money to help them cope
The number of schoolchildren in Northern Ireland whose first language is not English has risen by almost 50%, the BBC has learnt.

In the last four years the number of children arriving with immigrant parents has grown dramatically.

The bulk of those whose first language is not English, are from eastern Europe.

Last year the number was 3,911, but a census at the beginning of this school year showed the number to now be 5,665.

The government plans spend 5.5m in extra payments directly to schools to help them cope with the pupils who do not speak English.

But some parents have complained their children do not get enough assistance.

A new inclusion and diversity service set up by the government is beginning to train hundreds of teachers how to run lessons for the children with poor English.

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