Creating accessible services

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Co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals

7. Creating accessible services

7.6 Education services

Migration can impact significantly on the provision of education services. It impacts include:

  • planning schools provision – migration can make new or larger schools necessary or existing schools more sustainable;
  • support requirements at school – new migrants may have very different education and wider support needs, including a requirement for English as an Additional Language (EAL) support for children, and wider advice and support for their families;
  • training required for teachers and support staff – so that they can effectively welcome, assess, make learning plans and support children; and
  • work around integration and relations – while all schools will work to promote good relations, schools with very mixed and diverse populations may need to work harder to support pupils to integrate and become a community of learners.

Case study

Meeting the diverse range of needs of new migrants can be very challenging – particularly in schools where children speak a very large range of different languages. For example, in some schools in Govanhill, only one or two children have English as a first language. This can make learning English very challenging for children at the school – but not impossible, as this case study demonstrates.

Research for the Migration Advisory Committee has found that across the UK, pupils with English as an additional language do well – and perform at roughly comparable levels to those with English as their first language. It also found that children with English as their first language perform better at schools with a high proportion of pupils with English as an additional language. The reason for this correlation is not fully understood, as this research explains.

Find out more...

Education Scotland provides further support in relation to EAL, while the Scottish EAL Co-ordinating Council (SEALCC) has produced this good practice toolkit for supporting bilingual learners.

This guidance highlights how to make sure new migrants are welcomed and have positive experiences in Scottish schools. It explores how schools can improve how they assess migrants, and take account of prior learning, and how they can help children to use their first language to fully participate in learning.

This research explores the experiences of Polish children in Scottish schools.

Research in Glasgow focuses specifically on the impact of migration on schools in this local authority area.

This research explores the impact of migration on education in Scotland.

Case study

The Fife Polish Education Trust (FPET) provides support to Polish families living in the Fife area. Based in St Andrews, FPET works closely with Polish families to support the education of their children, and provides weekly Polish classes for primary school age children. It also seeks to build links within the local community, by creating opportunities to share Polish culture and language skills.

Video clips

Hear about some people’s experience of learning and studying in Scotland here:

Eman’s experiences of learning:


Edyta’s experiences as a parent: