Ipswich: Pupils at Hillside Community Primary School speak 58 languages

Lee Abbott is head teacher at Hillside Primary. Lee Abbott is head teacher at Hillside Primary.

Monday, July 21, 2014
12:45 PM

At Hillside Community Primary School in Ipswich there are 471 pupils speaking 58 different languages.

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The main minority languages spoken at the Belstead Road school are Portuguese, Polish and Lithuanian, representing respectively 4%, 4% and 3% of the total.

However the head teacher, Lee Abbott, said one of the most difficult things to deal with 
is the misunderstanding 
about what it means to have pupils at his school for 
whom English isn’t their first language.

“One of the challenges is the misconception that these children have no English and there is a great deal of time and money spent on these families and that simply isn’t the case,” he said.

Mr Abbott said pupils whose native tongue was not English are often not much further behind other pupils.

“Our English speaking 
children can come with very poor communication skills anyway when they first come in.

“At that point at reception age whether they have got English as an additional language or as a first language the language development is a priority, the process is the same, and language acquisition is about the same rate.”

Similarly, when conversing with parents there are numerous obstacles to overcome other than simply language barriers, and many different ways of approaching parents.

“There are parents we would need to write to but we can’t because they don’t have literacy skills,” he said.

Pupils who arrive at the school without a good grasp of English do not sit in regular English classes but receive six to eight weeks of intensive instruction in ‘English as an Additional Language’ from a qualified teacher.

For other classes they are taught the vocabulary that they will need the week before it comes up in class.

The school also employs 
teachers who speak a variety 
of languages, including 
Polish, French, Swedish and Punjabi.

Progress for pupils whose first language isn’t English is, just like native speakers, variable on factors such as their home 
life and dedication to education. However he added that 
immigrant families are 
“generally aspirational, 
they want their children to 
do well”.

He also rejected the idea that large numbers of non-English speaking pupils diverted attention from others.

“We track the progress of all of the children to make sure the resources are targeted at 
children who aren’t progressing at the right rate,” he said. 
“That’s regardless of background.

“Our resources go on children who require the pupil premium. Because lots of these children progress well they don’t need 
to have additional time 
and resources within the school.”

18 comments

  • Sentinel Red take her to the elite private school you think she deserves then.

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    JC

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • 58 more reasons to vote UKIP.

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    Gobby

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • I don't see a problem if we were to say if you come to this country and your children go to our schools only English is spoken if your child can't speak our language and you don't like it sent him or her to private tuition ,

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    pandy

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • We are quite mad in this country encouraging this unnecessary strain on the Uk's financial resources. Not only in schools but on all of the public sector.

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    Sarky Sage

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • Children at primary school age pick up language very quickly. My daughter came to this country aged 5, speaking only Italian, and by the end of the first term her English was perfect. We should take pride in the diversity of our country, rather than invent difficulties where none exist.

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    Boris

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

  • I wonder if anyone can answer why if English is your second language all schooltrips, be it a day trip or 5 days away, are half price.

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    zeelah

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • Ginge , How can these immigrant parent's teach their children English if they can't speak it or understand it themselves , personally i wouldn't want to live in a country if i couldn't speak the language ,, but we all know why they come to good old Britain ,, cos everything is free

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    MIGUEL100

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • Just been doing a little research and found this A large portion of a school’s funding comes from what is known as a ‘Dedicated Schools Grant’ from the DCSF, which goes to local authorities and is then distributed to schools as they see fit. Although this might not sound controversial, the differences between what local authorities receive is largely due to differences in ‘Additional Educational Needs’ (AEN) within their authority, which is where it gets very controversial because AEN is based on the number of children speaking English as an additional language. So immediately, before a single child has been taught, you hand over extra millions to local authorities just because they have fewer children with English as their only language Furthermore, local authorities decide how they split up their funding between schools - meaning that they are perfectly entitled to exacerbate this diversion of funds away from children only speaking English.

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    peter wright

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • What! no one pointed out my mistake that 28+20=48 so what difference will another 10 nationalities make. Funny that there are plenty of other countries with far greater space yet most immigrants choose to make there way to our doorstep.why?

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    peter wright

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • There are currently 28 members of the European Union, so that leaves 20 different nationalities from where! and how and why are they here! is just for diversity or have we lost control of our boarders selective immigration is good for the country, throughout history plenty of people have came here and done good things to improve the lives of the British people, (many of our top doctors are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants) however, currently we don't have selective immigration instead we are allowing too many people over, people who have little to nothing to offer, these people then become a drain and a burden,a House of Lords report confirmed that immigration does not help the individual Brit at all, sure it makes a bigger economy, but this 'bigger economy' is shared between more people so we gain nothing. It is pure power politics nothing else.

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    peter wright

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • What do you expect with Labour opening the doors to all and sundry, so they can get more votes to add to the postal vote scam so they can stay in power. And all you lot voted for them for 12 years, Suddenly Enoch's speech wasn't as scaremongering as it seemed at the time.

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    Tedbundy

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • Dounces of the world you just have to laugh irrespective of what comments are on the subject matter this has lightened my day Thanks for The Ginge

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    Joseph Marshall

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • Sentinal Reds first comment I can agree his second I can not. Maybe because he has not been closely involved with children at high school yet. But what happens is that you go in to years 1 & 2 at High School and if you have achieved any good stats in your last year at Junior School you will sit for 2yrs doing nothing relearning what you already know so the rest can catch up as I was informed by a teacher. Your education counts for nothing whilst the dounces of the world catch up so we can all be winners ! Or all mediocre more like. As for rejoicing we have a school with 58 languages in it, we should lament. It shows a complete failure to intergrate immigrant communities. Every child wherever they come from if they can not meet the required standard off English should be sent to a specialist English leasons School and then placed in the next years intake at school. Since that will delay obtaining free child care for a year, I am sure it will be a good incentive for parents to do the right thing and teach their kids English.That way everybody starts with a level playing field and our primary schools are not using precious resources to play catch up. I speak as someone who needed extra help with spelling for a number of years, a kick start at 4 might have been easier than years of struggling, and I speak as a person who went on to do A levels etc and did quite well. But we can not let children start to learn Maths, History etc etc untill they have the basic tool kit of English. And I am sure there are some miss spellings above even to this day !

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    The Ginge

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • waspie's wife..If 6- 8 weeks are spent on these children than that is money away from the school budget and ties up teachers. How have we got to a situation where letters cannot be sent home from school because parents can't read them!! This is not fair on our youngsters and this must be having a detrimental effect.On this showing, I'm not enamoured of today's "diversity", when mine went to school we didn't have to put up with this not speaking English malarkey..My children had an Indian school friend who spoke very good English in the days when we had properly controlled migration.

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    waspie

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • Wow, I don't think I could even name 58 languages!

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    RC

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • ...the biggest irony of this is that youngsters from abroad often are raised to place a greater value on education than many of their english-born peers and in the later stages of eductation are more likely to study hard and go on to higher education!

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    Sentinel Red

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • He says that it's a misconception that a great deal of time of time and money is spent. Yet some receive six to eight weeks of intensive English instruction. Well, that's time and I very much doubt it's free. It certainly seems to be to the detriment of children like Sentinel Red's neice. Oh, and am I allowed to say all this in this country today?

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    Robotix

    Monday, July 21, 2014

  • Its wonderful to have such diversity, but appalling for the standard of education at these schools. My little niece and nephew are one of a small number of native English speakers at their school. Many of their peers are so far behind, struggling with literacy that the whole class is held back whilst they keep up. this may be fine if the children struiggle anyway, but if, like my neice in particular, the child is bright and eager to learn, it measns that school can be less challenging than it should be.

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    Sentinel Red

    Monday, July 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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