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Slough is often cited as an example of a town struggling to cope with the strain of increased migration, notably on public services. Yet an excellent article by David Rose in the Observer paints a very different picture.

The town is booming, and while public services have encountered some difficulties, migrants are not – as opponents of immigration claim – dragging down standards. On the contrary:

At GCSE last year, Slough pupils achieved 56.5 per cent grades A* to C,
the 10th highest score of any education authority nationally and more
than 10 percentage points higher than the English average. The town
also has one of the lowest rates of student exclusion. The underlying
lesson, Pyper said, is that, with careful planning and targeted
provision for migrants’ special needs, children who arrive not speaking
English can end up as positive assets.

The headmaster of a local secondary school remarks that while foreign students start at a disadvantage,

once they learn English, they
fly. You get into a virtuous circle, because teachers get much quicker
feedback from the work they put in, the warm feeling that comes with
sense of having made a difference. Foreign children have improved our
results, and one consequence is that their numbers have now slightly
dropped – because the white British parents who live close to the
school want their children to come here again.

Posted 07 Apr 2008 in Blog

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