Extra resources are needed to prevent schools being put at a disadvantage by having a significant number of pupils with English as their second language.
That’s the message from Liberal Vannin MHK Peter Karran who is pressing Education Minister Tim Crookall MHKto give details of the resources available for these schools.
Mr Crookall revealed earlier this month that English is a second language to 613 island school children. Ballakermeen has the highest number at 139. Of the primary schools, St Mary’s has the largest number with 51.
Details were given in a written reply to a House of Keys question from Mr Karran. But the LibVan MHK for Onchan said he was disappointed that the Minister could not give a breakdown of the resources each school devotes to helping such pupils.
He has written to Mr Crookall, pressing him for this information, stating: ‘If you look at the glaring examples such as the like of Fairfield School with 47 pupils who have English as their second language, which spread over the eight classes must then represent some 25 to 30 per cent of the school’s population.
‘This puts the school under pressure and at a disadvantage and increases greatly the need for extra resources.’
But the Minister replied the number of pupils with English as a second language was not an indicator of pressure, or level of disadvantage, a school experiences.
‘One school might receive dedicated staffing to work with a single pupil who is new to the island whereas a different school with 10 fluent English-speaking pupils will not receive any staffing support,’ he said. ‘The level of support depends upon need.’