Consultation On Newcomer Pupils Opens

The Department of Education is seeking views on the current Supporting Newcomer Pupils policy for students who experience a language barrier while in school.

The term 'Newcomer Pupil', which accounts for around 4.4% of the school population in Northern Ireland, refers to those who speak a different language at home than in the classroom or who need extra help to understand the language used in their school.

The policy covers language support and assistance for around 16,000 pupils and has been in place since 2009.

A Departmental spokesperson said: "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.
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"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. 

Launched today, Tuesday 18 June, opinions will be welcomed until Tuesday 15 October. The consultation document and response booklet are available on the DE website.


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