1. National Context
Non-native pupils are increasing in the classrooms across England. Pupils who speak an eastern European language as their mother-tongue is the fastest growing ethnic minority group in our English primary schools (NALDIC, 2014). NALDIC 2014 reported within the eastern European pupils there is a different level of attainments within this ethnic minority group. Slovak and Czech from Roma backgrounds tend to have low cultural capital and struggles with inequalities which hinder their educational attainment. This can cause racism from their eastern European migrants and prejudice from their teachers in some cases. Russian and Bulgarian pupils are seen to be the higher achievers. Bourdieu and Passeron (1977) suggest cultural capital allows the middle class to hold their position in society which lead to inequalities which lead to middle class dominating the working class as they gain the professional employment and the working-class youth left to non-professional employment(Bartlett and Burton, 2012).
Sir Andrew Green of the migration think tank announced primary schools were affected the most when the teaching of native English-speaking children is suffering because immigrant pupils requiring more support (Geay, McNally and Telhaj, 2012). The Education EndownmentFoundation in February 2015 reported pupils of the age of five years old were unlikely to gain a satisfactory level of achievement compared to the native pupils (Best Evidence in Brief, 2017).
2. Local context
A report in the Daily Mail announced that a school in Derbyshire had advertised for a teaching assistant so they could support pupils to help with ‘translating information verbally and written. Teachers who are able to speak English and a second language are most useful but this is taking twice as long to explain instructions to pupils so therefore it is slowing down the learning in class (Hunter, 2016).
A report published in the Telegraph in May 2016 confirmed that almost one in fifteen pupils in England have a parent who is also a European citizen. This number has been increasing since 2007. The freedom of being able to move from one country to another has increased immigration in England. This has caused problems for parents to find a school and also impacts on the class sizes by increasing them (Ross, 2016).
The research for this study will be carried out in Lakeside Community Primary School. The school is a mainstream school of mixed ability which provides education for 3-11-year olds. Lakeside provides learning for 650 learners. Ofsted inspection of the school identified that Lakeside “requires improvement”. The School has a children’s centre, Sure Start on the complex. The children’s centre provides a service for children and their families. They provide advice and services which will help families in the local community. The type of services can be anything from English lessons for the whole family to general parenting classes (Department for Education, 2013). This facility is available to all families in the community and currently, at Lakeside children’s centre, they hold a support group once a week for children and their families who are non-native speakers.
The Telegraph 2015, reported Nicky Morgan education secretary at that time believed we needed 400,000 extra education places by 2023 to support the increasing numbers of immigration. Morgan suggested that a study by the Department for Education was needed to research immigration and study children’s educational attainment and the coping mechanisms for increasing numbers of pupils in schools. The study was to also focus on the intense pressures teachers face in primary education and which resources support them the most. The outcome of the study was to make sure non-native children aged 5-6 years old are achieving the same as the native pupils once they move into year two.(Ross, 2015).
3. Aims and objectives
There are many studies investigating the impact of non-native speakers with native speakers in the classroom. Whilst some studies argue they have some negative impact others suggest they should not be a cause for concern. They suggest some pupils are better educated than native pupils (Geay, McNally and Telhaj, 2012). Bourdieu and Passeron (1977) theorise pupils are locked into cycles they are born into. A child who is born into an educated family is likely to be educated themselves, through being exposed to a wide cultural interest (Walkup, 2011). The question in my study, ‘What are the teacher’s perceptions of the effect of non-native English speakers on the performance of native pupils in the primary classroom?’ is the aim of this research. The correct support system in place in the classroom would hypothesise non-native pupils would not make a difference in the classroom to native pupils performance. The objective will be to analyse the existing literature conclusions and to investigate if mix classes of non-native and native pupils in the classroom impacts on the native pupil’s educational attainment.
4. Historical background
In 1966 funds supported people of the Commonwealth countries with learning English, this was created by Section 11 of the Local Government Act. Non-native speakers in the classroom would be taken out of mainstream classes and attend a language centre for support. The racial equality report 1986 did not agree with this practice and the Calderdale local education authority found this discriminatory. This led to the closure of the language centres was replaced with staff to work and support in the mainstream classroom (NALDIC, 2015).
The Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) in 1999 updated the Section 11 funding. The funding allocated to each Local Authority and the amount they would receive would depend on how many English Additional Language (EAL) learners they had along with the number of ‘underachieving’ ethnic minority groups who also had free school meals (FSM).
The funding goes as far as to suggest there were attempts to narrow the gaps for non-native speakers in education attainment (British Council, 2016). The current funding for EAL pupils is at it was when it changed in April 2013. Schools are not legally tied to using the funding to meet the needs of the non-native pupils requiring EAL support (NALDIC, 2015).