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Union branch secretary Ian Murch says teachers face bigger challenge from pupils with English as a second language
Tighter school budgets are causing greater challenges to schools where significant numbers of pupils speak English as a second language, it is claimed.
Ian Murch, Bradford branch secretary for the National Union of Teachers, said some schools had lost interpreter services due to staff cuts.
Some 28,000 children in the Bradford district do not speak English as their first language, representing 43 per cent of primary school pupils and a third of secondary school pupils, according to new figures published by the Department for Education.
Mr Murch said recent influxes of families from European countries was making the problem more acute.
“It’s a challenge for teachers, but it’s not a new problem and it’s one that is accelerated by the number of different home languages,” he said.
“It makes it more likely that schools won’t be able to communicate with the families via an interpreter or someone who works on the school staff.
“The cuts to central services that the Government has made have made it a lot harder to keep staff that they could use in these circumstances.”
Last week, Keighley MP Kris Hopkins accused parents of failing to ensure their children spoke good English.
Adeeba Malik, deputy chief executive of Bradford-based development agency QED, said more could be done at home to promote good English-speaking so that children had better prospects.
She said: “I think there’s generally a problem about the level of spoken English everywhere across the district. Young children need to be at a certain level and I’m surprised by now that the statistics are so high."
- Read the full story Monday’s T&A