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Languages increase in Blackburn classrooms
SCHOOLS in Blackburn are seeing a surge in the number of languages their pupils speak.
Dozens of pupils who speak a range of languages are arriving in greater numbers in the area. The result has seen schools hire more translators and use staff experienced in teaching English as an additional language.
The new pupils are hailing from Eastern Europe and the Baltic states causing Blackburn with Darwen Council to adapt the support services they offer to schools. The council now offers a dedicated ‘arrivals team’ to help pupils who do not speak English settle in to school.
Some primary schools in the area are reported to have seen as many as 30 non-English speakers sign up. High schools are seeing non- English speakers too, but in lower proportions.
However educators say they think the system can handle the extra strain. Blackburn with Darwen Council’s member for schools and education, Dave Harling, said: “Primary schools in the borough have seen an increase in pupils arriving from Eastern Europe and the Baltic states.
“We have redesigned and adapted our support services accordingly with both permanent and additional temporary bi-lingual staff recruited to better meet the language needs of schools across the borough. These officers also assist with other matters including admissions meetings, appeal hearings, parents evenings and translating letters.
“We now have a redesigned new arrivals team who are able to provide speakers in more than a dozen languages, including Polish and Romanian, who work with schools to help the pupils settle in during the transition period while they are learning English.”
Witton Park headteacher Dean Logan said he thought many schools had a ‘can do’ attitude.
He said: “We have had 20 non English speakers come to us this term from the European Union, so we are dealing with wide ranging languagues. Most schools in the area are proactive and have a can do attitude.
“These pupils are perfectly entitled to be in Blackburn as there is free movement in the EU.”