Funding to support students learning English as a second language (ESOL) has been increased by $9.4 million for the next two years in response to demands of an increasingly diverse student population.
Education minister Nikki Kaye says the number of school pupils needing ESOL support increased almost 22 per cent between 2012 and 2016, from 32,000 to 39,000.
Specialist ESOL programmes, supported by ESOL teachers, help students from migrant and refugee backgrounds to learn the English they need to be successful in mainstream education. The programmes also provide mainstream teachers with training and guidance on how to support students who are learning English.
On a recent visit to Freeman’s Bay School in Auckland , Ms Kaye met with students and staff who are benefiting from ESOL funding.
“Freeman’s Bay School is a great example of a multicultural school with a growing number of diverse students,” says Ms Kaye.
“The school has a strong focus on ensuring that children are well supported as they settle into school, and on making community connections. There are strong bicultural practices, and the school celebrates cultural diversity in a range of ways.
“In addition to ESOL funding for supporting students, additional funding has been used to support staff with training for teaching English as a Second Language, and there are several bilingual tutors working at the school.
“The type of support that ESOL funding makes possible has a significant impact on thousands of children in schools right across New Zealand.
“For them to be truly successful in their education they need more than a basic grasp of the English language. Just attending class won’t give them the level of English they need, which is why ESOL funding is so important.”