Funding boosted for new English speakers in schools

  • Hon Jenny Salesa

More children and young people who migrate to New Zealand will benefit from specialised support to learn English, thanks to a $13.2 million increase in funding announced today by Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa.

Being able to communicate effectively in English is vital for students’ sense of wellbeing and belonging, as well as being vital for them to succeed with their education, Minister Salesa says. 

“Overseas research shows that children and young people who don’t speak English need targeted, intensive support so they can access the curriculum. Mainstream teaching in a classroom with other students just isn’t enough on its own.

“English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision in schools also includes encouraging and nurturing students’ first languages. Research shows that students who maintain a strong first language have a better chance of succeeding in English.

“In New Zealand, studies show that migrant students who receive our ESOL support achieve NCEA Level 2 to the same extent as students who are native speakers of English.

“Succeeding at school makes it easier to gain further qualifications and meaningful employment. For refugee and migrant families, having their children happy and successful at school also reduces stress.

“Today’s announcement of an additional $13.2 million in new funding follows the extra $34.5 million allocated for ESOL in Budget 2018, bringing the total increase to $47.7 million.  These increases will help us meet increased demand in primary and secondary schools.

“We currently support around 49,000 school pupils from 162 different ethnic groups with our high-quality ESOL programmes. This is expected to increase to 62,000 learners by 2023,” Jenny Salesa says.

Note for Editors

Students from refugee and migrant backgrounds who speak a language other than English in the home are eligible for ESOL funding, if their English proficiency is below the benchmark for their year level.  New Zealand-born students of migrant parents are eligible for up to three years’ support, and overseas-born migrants for up to five years.