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English Language

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment his Department has made of the additional demands that children without English as their first language place on primary and secondary schools. (169550)

At January 2007, there were 789,720 children in primary and secondary schools with English as an additional language (EAL): that is 120,240 or some 18 per cent. higher than in 2004. EAL children comprise 12 per cent. of the whole population, up from 9 per cent. in 2004. Schools need to help such children acquire fluency in English as early as possible so that they can access the full curriculum.

The Government provide funding for new arrivals and EAL children in schools through two main routes. The first is an element within the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for primary schools which was some £256 million in 2004-05, rising to £299 million in 2007-08, with a further rise to over £330 million in 2010-11—an 11 per cent. real terms increase on the 2004-05 level. The second is a substantial provision for EAL through the ring fenced Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG), which has risen from £162 million in 2004-05 to £179 million in 2007-08 and will rise to £206 million by 2010-11—a 9 per cent. increase on the 2004-05 level. In addition an Exceptional Circumstances Grant (ECG) has been introduced to reflect changes in local authorities’ pupil numbers which occur after the three year indicative allocations of DSG have been announced. It has three elements covering: an increase of more than 2.5 per cent. in overall pupil numbers; an increase of more than 2.5 per cent. in the proportion of children with EAL; and a one-off payment to authorities with EAL proportions below 10 per cent. which experience an increase in their EAL proportion of more than 2.5 per cent.

These increases in funding form part of the substantial overall increase in school funding: over the past 10 years since 1997, overall per pupil revenue funding for schools has increased by 67 per cent. in real terms. We expect local authorities to be able to manage new pressures from within these very substantial increases.