Parents' fury at cut in language support for multi-cultural Edinburgh primary school

PARENTS at a city primary school whose pupils speak 28 different languages are furious over a decision to cut support for children learning English.

By Ian Swanson
Friday, 27th September 2019, 7:47 am
Parent council chair Jamila Moore is worried about the effect on the whole school.
Parent council chair Jamila Moore is worried about the effect on the whole school.

They say Dalry Primary - where 203 out of 298 children have English as an additional language (EAL) - was told with just a couple of weeks’ notice that its allocation of support staff was being cut from three days a week to one.

Council chiefs insist a new model of support - where class teachers are equipped with “the right skills” and specialist EAL teachers act as advisers - represents an improvement and is already used in several other schools.

But parents say they have not seen the evidence and fear the loss of regular dedicated support staff will mean children fall behind and teachers are put under increased strain.

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Parent council chair Jamila Moore said she was concerned about the effect the change would have on the school as a whole.

“The cut to support for students will also affect their parents. We are working parents, some of us are single parents, and we rely on that support heavily.

“It means teachers will have added duties to their current workload which puts more strain on them. Certain children do require certain support. Teachers don’t have just one pupil in their class and so if one child is struggling it is difficult for the teacher to focus on that one student.”

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“If resources are taken away it’s going to put a massive stress on classroom teachers. If you have children not able to understand what’s going on they are going to get bored and act up.”

And she said parents only learned of the change at the beginning of the month and it was introduced on September 17. “One thing is for sure, this was incredibly badly implemented at very short notice. Even if it is a better system - which we’re not accepting at the moment - it was very alienating for teachers and parents.”