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9th January 2015 at 00:00

Govanhill is a good start - but migrants need more

Congratulations to Henry Hepburn for the report on Govanhill's Roma community ("It's enough for us that children are accepted", News focus, 12 December 2014), which highlighted the hard work and significant effort undertaken by schools and teachers in welcoming new migrants to Glasgow and Scotland.

It is unfortunate that the article's publication coincided with an announcement by Glasgow City Council of mid-session emergency cuts in EAL (English as an additional language) funding owing to budget constraints. This is precisely the kind of action that can demoralise and undermine the best efforts of all in trying to make a difference. In these difficult circumstances, local and national government has a role to play.

The Scottish government rightly recommends further development of the links between cultural organisations, language communities and schools, and also that local authorities should ensure their language strategies take account of social deprivation.

In consequence, government representatives should engage with Glasgow City Council and consider additional funding to provide dedicated support for Govanhill schools, as well as the wider need for additional EAL across the city and country to promote English language learning for migrant children and their parents.

This is not special pleading but a recognition of the need for specific and proportionate resources to meet identified needs, in order to ensure that schools and teachers are able to deliver high-quality learning and teaching for all.

Investment in inclusive education and additional support needs benefits all of us, especially in the areas of poverty and social deprivation. The Govanhill Roma community is an example of both what can be done and what needs to be done.

Hugh Donnelly

Member of the EIS teaching union's executive committee and ex-secretary of the EIS Glasgow Local Association

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