$9.4 million to help bilingual students
Children learning English as a second language will benefit from an additional $9.4 million boost in Government funding over the next two years.
Education Minister Nikki Kaye said the Government had allocated additional funding in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) in the Budget 2017, as a result of New Zealand’s increasingly diverse student population.
Government funding for ESOL in 2016 was $28.8 million - the new funding will add $3.6 million in 2017 and $5.76 million in 2018.
Last week Statistics New Zealand released its May figures, which showed a record high for migration - with a gain of 72,000 non-New Zealand citizens in the past year.
A growing number of students had English as a second language, Kaye said.
‘‘Schools are requesting specialised support to help these students,’’ Kaye said.
‘‘For these students to be truly successful in their education they need more than a basic grasp of the English language - which is why ESOL funding is so important,’’ Kaye said.
The $9.4 million will fund specialist ESOL programs, support ESOL teachers and train mainstream teachers on how to support these students.
On a visit to Freeman’s Bay School in Auckland on Friday Kaye met with students and staff benefiting from ESOL funding.
The boost received a ‘‘thumbsup’’ from Freeman’s Bay School principal Sandra Jenkins.
‘‘By the Government showing respect for New Zealand’s cultural diversity our graduates will have respect for cultural diversity - meaning that our future leaders will make the world a more peaceful place,’’ Jenkins said.
Kaye said ESOL programs demonstrated success.
‘‘NCEA achievement data shows students who receive ESOL support achieve NCEA level 2 as often as English speaking background students do.’’
Schools used funding in a range of ways.
‘‘A school in Auckland is using digital tools to support students and their families who are learning English, and at a school in Wellington the ESOL teacher maintains a calendar of festivals to help celebrate the diverse cultures of the students,’’ Kaye said.
Education Minister Nikki Kaye visited Freeman’s Bay School in Auckland on Friday to meet with ESOL students and staff.