Poorer pupils at same level as non-English speaking children

Poorer pupils are at the same educational level as those whose first language is not English
Poorer pupils are at the same educational level as those whose first language is not English
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Pupils from poorer backgrounds in Northamptonshire have the same level of attainment as pupils whose first language is not English, according to Government statistics.

The figures, which show the attainment of foundation stage pupils in the county, show 31 per cent of pupils who receive free school meals achieve the expected early learning standards in the county, while 32 per cent of pupils whose first language is not English achieve the same levels.

Among pupils whose first language is English, the figure was 50 per cent.

St Mary’s Primary Academy in Kettering was praised in 2011 by Ofsted inspectors for its work with pupils whose first language is not English.

Vice-principal Diane Wright said the school has several ideas to better integrate those pupils.

She added: “We have a buddy system, where if a child is a Polish speaker for example but has good English, we pair them up with a pupil whose English is not very good.

“We also advise parents on things they can do at home to improve their English, like certain television programmes they can watch and signposting other opportunities for them.

“We have tended to find pupils joining us at an early stage with little English are leaving with the same level of attainment as their peers – or better in some cases.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said the lower attainment of pupils from deprived backgrounds was due to a “complex interaction of social and demographic factors” including ill health, family stress and low levels of parental involvement in their children’s education.

She added: “That’s why efforts to address the educational achievement of children from deprived backgrounds is part of a bigger body of work to address the impact of child poverty.”