Teachers will condemn ban on migrant children

Teachers will condemn David Blunkett's proposals to ban asylum-seekers' children from state schools when the Professional Association of Teachers' conference begins this week.

Under Mr Blunkett's Asylum Bill, children of asylum-seekers will be educated in new "accommodation centres".

However, after more than 30 Labour MPs threatened rebellion over the proposals, Mr Blunkett conceded amendments, to be tabled after the summer recess, that would ensure that all children were assessed after six months in the centres.

Despite that concession, teachers are expected to give their overwhelming support to a motion condemning the Government's attitude to ethnic minority and refugee pupils.

Jim O'Neill, a Leicester primary school teacher and the association's new vice-chairman, who will propose the motion at the conference in Telford, said: "This policy does nothing to help integration and understanding. And, after the six months, where do mainstream schools get the expert advice and support they will need?"

Leicester has announced the first teacher redundancies for years because of a government decision to freeze a £154m grant to helped ethnic minority pupils learn English. Leicester City Council was forced to cut 10 staff even though it had nearly 1,000 extra pupils arriving in its schools with little or no knowledge of English.

Save the Children, the National Union of Teachers, the British Medical Association, Oxfam and the Transport and General Workers' Union have launched a campaign for the proposals to be dropped.

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