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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 18:41 GMT
Funding plea for migrant pupils
Child writing - generic
Not all schools have the staff to cope with the new pupils
Emergency funding is needed to help schools cope with an influx of migrant pupils, a teachers' union has said.

The Educational Institute of Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to appeal for UK and European funds.

A former leading head teacher said the system was under strain dealing with pupils who do not speak English.

The Scottish Government said it was working with councils to ensure additional language needs were addressed in the future.

A spokeswoman said the most recent figures showed that there were 9,500 pupils in Scottish schools who were identified as having English as an additional language (EAL).

The EIS said that head teachers in England receive an ethnic minority achievement grant.

]#The Scottish Executive initially made the move to welcome Poles to Scotland with a flyer that was advertised right across Poland
Zosia Fraser
Polish community representative

Westminster provides a proportionate amount of money to the Scottish Government, which is then passed on to local authorities for use in schools. It is then down to the councils to decide where the money is used.

The issue of a surge in the number of migrants coming to Scotland from countries such as Poland and Romania was until recently confined to Glasgow and the central belt.

However, increasingly families have been settling in areas like the Highlands, the Borders and Aberdeenshire attracted by jobs in tourism, hospitality and the oil industry.

In some areas there are only one or two suitably trained teachers available and some schools have been coping with the equivalent of an extra class per term, the EIS said.

Dig deeper

The union said it has sympathy for local authorities who have many demands on their money.

It has called on the Scottish Government to either dig deeper and give schools a cash boost or to appeal to the Westminster or EU parliaments who are responsible for immigration policy to provide some emergency funding.

Ken Cunningham, a former president of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland (HAS), said the new children have been welcomed.

However, he said: "The existing staff are now stretched to the limit in terms of meeting their needs and I suspect across the country that would be very variable.

"Some authorities are more blessed than others and have spent more money than others.

Pupils on way to school
Thousands of children have a language need, figures show

"The reality is there are youngsters in classes, in schools across the country and they need support."

Zosia Fraser, a leading member of the Polish community in the Highlands, said the Scottish Government should do more to support migrant families who were encouraged to the country by the previous administration.

She said: "The Scottish Executive initially made the move to welcome Poles to Scotland with a flyer that was advertised right across Poland."

Mrs Fraser said it had been a huge campaign encouraging Poles to make a new life in Scotland.

She added: "Ministers should now fulfil that promise."

A "hefty payment of funding" for the Highland region, she said, would mean more teachers could be employed to help pupils who did not speak English.

The government spokeswoman said: "Officials have had meetings at senior level with representatives of the EIS and Scottish English as an Additional Language Co-ordinating Council to discuss these issues and are due to report back to ministers soon.

"Meantime, the new funding and delivery partnerships recently announced between the Scottish Government and local government will contain measures to address additional support needs in education, including those arising from EAL."

Migrants like 'modern day slaves'
22 Aug 07 |  Tayside and Central
Poles 'embarrassed' to seek help
13 Apr 07 |  Highlands and Islands


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