Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Forty languages spoken in Northern Ireland schools

The extent of Northern Ireland's development into a multi-cultural society was shown today when it was revealed children speaking 40 different languages were enrolled in schools.

And according to an inspection report 'newcomer' children whose first language is not English are well supported in schools.

Stanley Goudie, chief inspector of the Education and Training Inspectorate, said: "The last school census carried out showed we have around 7,000 newcomer children speaking 40 different languages.

"To ensure these children are able to participate fully in school life, it is essential that adequate supports are in place.

"Our evaluation, which included visits to 25 schools, showed that overall the provision of support is good."

A key strength was the range of resources and services provided by the Inclusion and Diversity Service to support schools which had newcomer children in their classrooms, he said.

"We also identified a commitment from schools to improve the provision for the children, including working for early integration into the school community," said Mr Goudie.

He said they identified a small number of areas which could be strengthened, but expected the recently published policy 'Supporting Newcomer Pupils' to further improve the quality of service provided.

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