The Department of Education’s Newcomer Policy is out for consultation. Stronger Together and STEP will be holding workshops to ensure issues affecting the BME community in relation to access to Education services for their children’s are included in responses to the consultation document.
The consultation paper is available in the top 10 languages spoken by Newcomer pupils (Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian, Portuguese, Arabic, Bulgarian, Tetum, Latvian, Slovak and Hungarian). Translations into other languages will be considered on request.
The Department of Education launched a public consultation seeking views on the current Supporting Newcomer Pupils’ policy.
A ‘Newcomer pupil’ is a pupil who speaks a different language at home than the one used in their school, and who needs extra help to understand the language used in their school. In the region of 16,000 pupils are currently classed as Newcomer pupils which is 4.4% of the school population here.
A Departmental spokesperson said: “The current Supporting Newcomer Pupils’ policy has been in place for a decade. During this time there has been an increase in the number and diversity of Newcomer pupils in our schools. We need to know if our policy still meets the needs of these pupils, and what changes we could make to ensure these young people thrive and reach their full potential.
“We welcome all views on how this goal can be achieved but would particularly value comments from current and former Newcomer pupils, their parents and guardians, schools and individual teachers working with Newcomers; and from stakeholders and community organisations actively working to support these families.”
At the end of this consultation, policy development work will continue and will be informed by the views expressed during the consultation. This will allow an incoming Minister to take informed decisions on any changes to the Newcomer policy.
The consultation document and response booklet are available on the DE website here.