The Department of Education is currently carrying out a review of its Supporting Newcomer Pupils Policy. We consider someone to be a Newcomer pupil if they do not speak enough English or Irish to participate fully in school; and if they normally speak a different language at home. Schools receive some extra money for each Newcomer pupil they have. They also get access to extra support services to help them meet the learning needs of Newcomer pupils and to help them to settle in and be happy at school. In undertaking this review, we want to find out if the support given to Newcomer pupils in our schools is working properly and helping them to achieve their potential.
If your child is currently identified as a Newcomer pupil their experience of going to school, and yours as their parent, will help us to understand whether the current policy is working well or if there are areas which need to be improved. To start gathering your views we are issuing two short questionnaires to Newcomer pupils and the parents of Newcomer pupils.
The pupil questionnaire will be issued shortly.
The parents’ questionnaire is available now and can be accessed via the following web page. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/M6RPCFM
The survey is anonymous and should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. I hope that you will complete the survey as you are best placed to tell us how well the Newcomer support arrangements are working. We are also keen to understand how good your child’s school is at communicating with you, at keeping you informed of your child’s progress, and in helping you if you need to raise any problems with them.
We know that many families will have children attending a number of different schools. If you wish to, you are welcome to complete additional surveys to let you comment on each of your children’s different experiences. The parents’ survey is available in English and the top ten languages spoken by Newcomer pupils and their families, via the link provided above. We would encourage you to complete it online, in your preferred language.
If you would prefer to complete a printed copy of the questionnaire or are unable to use any of the languages provided, please contact the Department (Additional Educational Needs Team, 028 91 279926) The survey responses will only be a starting point for the Review and over the coming months, we hope to have an opportunity to meet with groups of Newcomer parents to discuss their experiences in greater detail. If you would be willing to take part in one of these follow-up focus group meetings, send us an email to register your interest. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org