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Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 08:03 GMT
Language help for asylum children
Child at school
The new course aims to help ethnic minority children
A university in north-east England is taking steps to help children from ethnic minorities settle into school and college more easily.

A new course at Northumbria University aims to break down the language barriers faced by the growing number of asylum seekers and refugees living in the region.

Education specialists will be trained to work in schools and colleges across the area to help children get the most out of their education.

It is hoped people who are fluent in English and at least one other language - especially Albanian, Urdu, Bengali, Spanish, Turkish and Serbo Croat - will choose to train for the roles.

Language barriers can cause real problems for teachers as well as the students and their families

Irina Bystrova, trainer

Research by the Tyne and Wear Learning and Skills Council last year showed that more bilingual staff are needed to help children and their families get the most from the English education system.

Course trainer Irina Bystrova said: "The north-east as a region is becoming much more multi-cultural.

"More asylum seekers and refugees are now living in the region, many of whom have children who speak very little or no English at all.

'Crucial role'

"In some areas there are concentrations of ethnic minorities and the language barriers can cause real problems for teachers as well as the students and their families.

"However, in other instances children may find they are the only one from an ethnic minority in a school and the inability to communicate in English can be extremely isolating."

The nationally accredited scheme will run from next January.


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See also:

02 Oct 02 | Scotland
10 Jun 02 | Politics
09 Jun 02 | Education
25 Apr 02 | Education
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