Wellington, June 23, 2017
Students learning English as a second language will benefit from a further $9.4 million being made available under Budget 2017 to support schools over the next two years.
New Zealand has an increasingly diverse student population.
We are seeing a growing number of students who have English as a second language, and consequently more schools requesting specialised support to help those students.
The number of students receiving support from the English for Speakers of Other Languages programme has increased from 32,000 students in 2012 to 39,000 in 2016.
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.
Visit to Freeman’s Bay
On a visit to Freeman’s Bay School in Auckland today, I 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.
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.
It means schools can provide children with targeted, intensive support in individual or smaller group settings that’s delivered by trained and qualified ESOL specialists.
Schools are using their ESOL funding to provide support in a range of ways.
For example, a school in Auckland is using digital tools and resources to support students and their families who are learning English, and at a school in Wellington the ESOL teacher maintains a calendar of festivals to help celebrate the diverse cultures of the students.
ESOL programmes have demonstrable success. NCEA achievement data shows that students who have received ESOL support achieve NCEA level 2 as often as English- speaking background students do.
Proper funding access
The extra funding for ESOL announced in Budget 2017 will ensure that teachers and principals can access funding to teach English to students from non-English speaking backgrounds so they can successfully participate and achieve in education.
This Government values every student and it’s important that all young people in our education system feel supported to achieve.
We also recognise that schools need specialist support to ensure that they are providing the best opportunity for all their students to achieve.
This is why funding for programmes such as ESOL is so important, and I’m pleased that in Budget 2017 we have been able to commit to ensuring this support is available for the growing number of eligible students.
Nikki Kaye is Education Minister of New Zealand.