Section 11 cash review ordered

21st November 1997 at 00:00
A complete review of Section 11 funding for ethnic- minority language teaching has been announced by the Government. It is in response to the Prime Minister's speech to the Labour conference when he pledged to reverse the last government's proposed Pounds 40 million cut to the Pounds 83m Section 11 budget.

Mike O'Brien, Home Office minister, announced the review to a delegation from the National Union of Teachers, led by its president, Christine Blower. The union was promised wide-scale consultation over how future funding will operate.

Local education authorities have been told the current level of funding will remain the same for 199899 and, therefore, any existing projects will be able to continue until March 1999.

The NUT has discovered that Section 11 teachers are four times more likely to be employed on fixed-term contracts and as a result recruitment is difficult. The union says the bidding process means the money does not always go to the most deserving cases.

In its report Future Funding for Race Equality, the NUT says the funding should switch to the Department for Education and Employment. It says there should be a national framework and guidelines to assess needs. The review should look at standards of race equality work more generally.

Mike O'Brien said Tony Blair's intervention now means thousands of teachers' jobs have been saved and many children from ethnic minorities will now be able to learn English and play a full part in society.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the NUT, said: "At last the Government has recognised the importance of stable, secure and sufficient funding for children who do not have English as their first language. No longer can we have the ridiculous stop-start funding. This means that high quality teachers don't have to live in fear of losing their jobs."

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