Felicity Laurence, Chair of Hastings Community of Sanctuary
To everyone! Please act now!
The EALs service has been running in East Sussex for approximately 25 years. It provides teachers and Bilingual Support Officers to work in schools with students for whom English is not their first language. There are currently 250 children and young people accessing the service across the county so far this academic year and EALS receives new referrals throughout the year, so the number is rising weekly. The total for 2017-18 was 471.
At the end of last year, the secondary School’s Forum representatives decided to withdraw from pooling resources from secondary schools (resulting in a £137,000 cut to EALS funding from April 2019) but the primary schools’ representatives voted unanimously to continue pooling (securing more than £400,000 for EALS to continue delivering support to primary schools). However, the county has determined that this reduction in funding makes the provision of the service unviable and is currently running a web-based consultation, which closes on 3rd FEBRUARY 2019.
Many of the children and families affected by this proposal are from refugee backgrounds and thus among the most vulnerable in our community, and we know that they have very little voice in this matter. We have been talking with some of them, and with our campaign we hope to bring their voices and our own to the table. While some provision will remain for some of the children and young people affected, any such cuts inevitably have a knock-on effect on overall support for those children who most need it, and this will include other children whose first language may be English, but who have various other special educational needs. Our motivation in resisting the cutting of this service is therefore a concern with the its wider impact – upon children coming into school with no English, with children who need support with other special needs, and with the many teachers, currently supporting these children, who will lose their jobs or find these seriously diminished and likely to make them less able to provide the optimum level of educational support.
We are urging everyone to take 10 minutes to fill out the consultation, which closes on 3rd FEBRUARY 2019, about the proposed cut to the EAL service, which you can find here.
And also, if at all possible, to write to their own county councillor, even if only briefly, repeating whatever points you make in the consultation. You can find your councillor here.
Here is a list of some points you might like to have at hand to complete the consultation, in addition to the general comments above.
A one-page briefing can be found here.