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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Funds call to polish up education
Inverness and the Highlands have seen an influx of Poles
The Scottish Executive has been urged to help fund English lessons for migrant workers in the Highlands.

An estimated 3,000 Polish migrants have poured into Inverness alone since their country joined the EU in 2004.

Councillor Drew Miller said the Highlands had done its bit for bringing people to Scotland in line with the executive's fresh talent initiative.

He wants ministers to back the policy with supporting funds. The executive said it was looking into the issue.

Many Poles have been attracted to the area by the standard of living and a buoyant local economy.

We're doing our bit to attract people to Scotland
Drew Miller
Highland Council education committee

Mr Miller, vice chairman of Highland Council's education committee, said the authority's spending was now coming under pressure.

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that more people were arriving all the time and the need for literacy training was increasing.

He said: "Currently we're not really providing as much as the demand.

"We're working to get some detailed costs because we're looking at extending the weekend provision for the children who are going to our schools.

Budget constraints

"We're also examining the increasing need for adult education as well."

The authority's accountants are calculating the new costs for the take-up in services, which have increased 27% for school aged children alone.

Mr Miller said the costs put a burden on already tight education budgets.

Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell has driven through efforts to attract foreign workers

He added: "We're doing our bit to attract people to Scotland, Scotland's doing its own bit by being a wonderful place to live, so I think the executive has to help out in this instance."

The executive has launched a consultation to examine the issue.

A spokesman said: "The executive recognises that English language training is an important part of helping people to integrate into new communities and to access important public services.

"That is why we have launched an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) strategy consultation to ensure better co-ordination of supply and demand so that learners can access high quality, affordable provision."

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