Tabs on 'hidden' Portuguese

23rd June 2000 at 01:00
THE schooling of asylum-seekers' children has been a major issue in recent months. But another group of recent arrivals - the children of Portuguese migrants - has been almost entirely forgotten.

Large numbers of Portuguese children are being educated in inner-London boroughs, south coast towns and Jersey. Many of their parents are believed to be hotel workers who have benefited from the European Union's freedom-of-movement legislation.

But as the children are usually classified as "European" rather than "Portuguese", there is no statistical data on their educational progress. The Portuguese government now wants to close that information gap and has commissioned a three-year study from he University of Luton.

Dr Guida de Abreu, the project's director, said that her team would be investigating the children's performance at every national curriculum stage.

"As first or second-generation immigrants they are exposed to major differences between their home and school - social and cultural differences and differences of language," she said. "This creates needs and conflicts for them, their parents and their teachers.

"How these challenges are approached will have an impact on their success in school and beyond, on their personal and emotional growth, their ability to flourish in Britain and to prosper if and when they return with their families to Portugal."

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