Are our schools being swamped by EU immigrants?

Janet Downs's picture

Schools all over England are not being swamped by the children of EU immigrants, analysis reported in Schools Week reveals.

 ‘The effects of EU immigration in terms of both numbers and their effects on academic attainment therefore appear very local, with most areas largely unaffected, a few areas heavily affected and London positively thriving, at least in terms of academic outcomes,’ said the report’s author, Dr Timo Hannay.

The challenges presented by a high influx of EU immigrant pupils, defined as “non-British, non-Irish white” (NBW), are ‘hyperlocal’, the report finds.  They are confined to areas such as Peterborough, Boston and London. 

The analysis shows the overall proportion of EU immigrant children in English schools is low: 4.9% in primary schools and 4.2% in secondary schools.   Nevertheless, this proportion represents thousands of children – places must be found for them.  That's why Stewart Jackson, MP for Peterborough, has long argued for extra funding to be targeted at affected areas.

It appears that from an attainment point of view, particularly in London, such investment would pay off:

‘…pupils at schools with fewer NBW pupils generally do better. But schools with few NBW pupils but with a similar make-up of pupils (i.e. FSM/non-FSM) do worse than schools with lots of NBW kids.’

It appears that an injection of EU immigrant pupils into schools with a large number of disadvantaged children is an advantage not a disadvantage.  This could be because their families place a high value on education, Dr Hannay suggests. 

This analysis is timely.  It deserves to be widely circulated to counteract the more sensational reports about the effect on English schools of EU migration.

*based on free school (FSM) eligibility/non-FSM


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