Diversity brings its own problems

SUFFOLK is a cosmopolitan place which is now home to people from across the face of the planet.That cultural diversity is a great benefit as everyone brings something different to society as a whole.

SUFFOLK is a cosmopolitan place which is now home to people from across the face of the planet.

That cultural diversity is a great benefit as everyone brings something different to society as a whole.

However it is also a challenge to the authorities, especially those teaching children, because of the huge variety of languages that are now spoken.

In Ipswich, schools report pupils have more than 70 first languages - not including English - while across the county as a whole the number goes up to 200.


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No school can be expected to cope with such a wide language diversity without massive support from education authorities.

The challenge is always going to be most acute in primary schools which are smaller and less able to find the resources to deal with a wide number of languages than large secondary schools.

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What is needed, of course, is early lessons to teach basic English - very young children can pick up languages much faster than adults and teenagers.

As the make up of our society changes much more emphasis needs to be placed on teaching basic English as a second language at primary level.

In a sense the young children who get this teaching will be lucky - a new language picked up quickly at a young age can make people effectively bilingual within a few months.

But of course such a programme will be expensive and will take a great deal of commitment from the authorities - but it is a commitment that cannot be ignored if society is to be genuinely inclusive.

SO part one of England's Great Escape is completed - thanks to the plucky Israeli team on Saturday night.

Just two days ago the Three Lions looked like no-hopers in the race the Euro 2008 championships - few thought Israel, with nothing to play for, would be able to hold back the Russians.

How wrong we were! Now England only need a draw against Croatia at Wembley to book their ticket to Austria and Switzerland next summer.

Of course nothing can be taken for granted - but if England blow it now then the team and Steve McClaren really will deserve all the flak that will be directed at them.

IPSWICH teenager Sophie Underwood's life was cruelly cut short when she died in a road accident at Foxhall last week - but she left a legacy that has touched scores of lives.

Messages have been sent to The Evening Star in her memory from people across the country who knew Sophie as a beautiful, bright girl who had everything to live for.

Hopefully that will be a consolation to her family and friends although in truth it is difficult to imagine anything will truly be able to ease their pain at this difficult.

Clearly she was a much-loved young woman who will never be forgotten.

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