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Ofsted to investigate how schools cope with immigration

Ofsted is to publish a report looking at how schools cope with growing populations of immigrant pupils, the watchdog has confirmed.

TES understands that the report will explore the impact of the increase in Roma children attending schools in Sheffield. Around 1,500 Roma people from Eastern Europe live in the city. After reports of tension between Sheffield's different ethnic groups in recent months, South Yorkshire Police announced plans for a team of officers to learn Roma in order to improve engagement with the community.

The news comes after chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw (pictured) said in a radio interview yesterday that schools needed more support to cope with an “influx” of immigrant children. An Ofsted spokesman confirmed that the report was due to be published “shortly”.

In response to a question about immigration on LBC Radio, Sir Michael said: “Schools need the resources to deal with that. When they’re faced with an influx of children from other countries, they need the resources and capacity to deal with it, and if those resources aren’t there that’s a big issue for government. That’s the first thing and we’ll be producing reports [sic] on this fairly soon.”

In his LBC interview, Sir Michael argued that even pupils who arrived at school unable to speak English could go on to achieve well. “All my experience has [shown] that where you’ve got children coming to school who may not be able to speak English as a first language but have the right attitude to work, are supported by their parents and are ambitious for themselves, they do well.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union, said that while a sharp increase in students from different backgrounds could cause difficulties for a school, a diverse intake could also trigger improvements.

On the watchdog’s plans to publish a report on the issue, he added: “Ofsted has an unerring instinct for highly controversial issues in the system, when its primary job is to inspect schools.”

Related stories:

Head was 'mistakenly' warned ahead of inspection, Ofsted admits - September 2014

Ofsted launches wave of no-notice inspections - September 2014

Ofsted scraps grades for individual lessons - August 2014

Ofsted must scrap 'quality of teaching' from inspections - July 2014

Ofsted to drop grades for teachers' individual lessons in new trial - June 2014

Ofsted should no longer judge quality of teaching, says former Gove aide - May 2014 

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