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Increased funding for ESL Learners

Increased funding for English as second language learners

The Government has increased ESOL funding for teaching children whose first language is not English by $6.6m over the next four years.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard told Parliament that the increase in funding would provide more help for more children over a longer period of time.

"Language is a severe barrier to many young children accessing the curriculum. This is a particular challenge for refugees who are landed in a new country with limited resources," Trevor Mallard said.

"Currently, there is not enough money to provide the level of support needed by quota and non-quota refugees. More children will be assisted and that support will last five years – not stop at three, as is currently the case. This will ensure students continue to progress in achieving satisfactory educational outcomes.

"Until this decision was made persons who join families under reunification were not eligible for this support. It created a real anomaly where people who had the same level of need, possibly even more because of the years they spent in camps, were given no assistance to learn the language in their new country.

"Improving the English language skills of these young people not only benefits them and their families, it benefits other children in the classroom. This extra funding, which includes money for the appointment of refugee education coordinators, means teacher time is freed up to focus back on the needs of the class as a whole.

"In addition, funding like this helps us build a socially cohesive society. It will reduce education disparity and help children get the knowledge and skills they need to obtain employment and contribute positively to New Zealand's economy and society. That means it is of benefit to us all," Trevor Mallard said.

Ends

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