English as an Additional Language Service (EALs)
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- Schools are currently cash strapped and any reduction to services provided from County will certainly affect their ability to provide any additional educational support. Without the accountability which comes from accessing this service from the council, it is very likely that many schools will reduce their EAL provision and prioritise what funding they have for other areas of curriculum and activity.
Children of incoming refugee families and other second language English backgrounds will likely receive less than the optimal amount of extra English tuition which they urgently need, on a sustained basis and of high quality, and for long enough to enable them properly to access the curriculum. Devolving this responsibility to schools places an unreasonable burden upon them, and removes the accountability and visibility of the fair and equal provision of this service which should remain with the council.
Schools in Hastings, which is a dispersal area for asylum seekers, will be disproportionately affected as opposed to more affluent rural areas
Primary schools are dismayed at the proposed withdrawal of this service. If the secondary schools have made this decision through the Schools Forum, why should the primary schools be penalised?
If East Sussex County Council ceases this service, it will very likely be degraded or simply not be provided in Hastings, where all our schools bar one are now academies and are therefore presumably not obliged to provide the service.
The service is vital in terms of any consideration of equality of opportunity.
- Children at secondary level are expected to know basic grammar before they join the school, so it is not taught in secondary school. There is thus a serious gap in the understanding of refugee and other second language English children who are entering secondary school on arrival in the UK, without the same solid grounding as those children in the primary system are given. With the removal of funding for English lessons, the children at secondary level will struggle even more to comprehend written English as well as spoken, and to access the entire curriculum.
- Children will be at the whim of their school as to whether funding will be found from within the internal budget to provide English language lessons, but also at the behest of the ethos of the academy group the school belongs to.
- Academies often spread funding throughout their chain, so if a child were to go to a school with a low need for the language provision, as opposed to one within the chain in another area of the county with a higher need, they may not be able to access the academies’ funding for English lessons, as that money will be targeted at the higher need school.
- Children with English as their second language who also have other special needs will need much more intensive English language lessons, more likely one-to-one. SEN includes such needs as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia and Dysgaphia to ADHD, Autism and Aspergers, and physical and mobility problems. Many of these are masked in children learning to speak English, and any such children will become even more vulnerable as their levels of support are stripped away.
- The result of cutting this service will inevitably be that overall there will be far less English language support and this probably of compromised quality without recourse to the expertise of the people currently employed to deliver this service.
Although the proposal claims to ensure that the service is replaced by something just as satisfactory, it is in essence a cut in provision of extra, and expert, help to a large number of children whose lives will be hugely affected in terms of their academic, social and emotional progress and well-being.
Outsourcing extra educational help for needy children to schools, so many of which are now academised, simply does not fulfil the rights of the children concerned, given the current and prevailing priorities shown and indeed compelled by and within schools -such as the emphasis upon attendance -to which extra money is very likely to be channelled.
Any such cuts inevitably have a knock-on effect on overall support for all those children who most need it, including other children whose first language may be English, but who have various other special educational needs and who are also thus very vulnerable.