Views sought on newcomer pupils policy

Date published: 18 June 2019

The Department of Education today 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 https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/consultations/supporting-newcomer-pupils

Notes to editors: 

  1. DE is responsible for the “Supporting Newcomer Pupils” policy.  The current policy has been in place since 2009.
  2. In the region of 16,000 pupils are currently classed as Newcomer pupils which is 4.4% of the school population.
  3. The total allocation under the Common Funding Formula for Newcomer pupils is £16.5 million in 2019/20. This represents 1.34% of the total Aggregated Schools Budget. This money forms part of each school’s delegated budget allocation and so it is for each school and Board of Governors to determine how best to use this funding. The Education Authority funds the Intercultural Education Service through its block grant.
  4. Additional information on Newcomer pupils is available on the DE website: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/articles/newcomers
  5. The current guidelines for schools in relation to Newcomer pupils are also available on the DE website: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/de/newcomer-guidelines-for-schools.pdf
  6. The consultation launches today (Tuesday 18 June) and will remain open until 15 October 2019 to take account of the school holidays in July and August.
  7. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207.  Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer number 028 9037 8110.
  8. Follow us on Twitter @Education_NI and our Facebook page, Department of Education Northern Ireland.

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