A new study which examines the impact of migrant children on educational attainment in Glasgow schools has shown many teachers view their impact as positive. Stephen Dillon, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Glasgow, looked at examination performance at two publicly funded secondary schools within the Glasgow City local authority area (chosen for their contrasting experience of migrant pupils). He coupled this quantitative analysis with semi-structured interviews with teaching staff from across the city who have direct experience of teaching native and migrant children side by side. Migrant children were defined as new arrivals who did not have English as their first language, in contrast to native children, who are defined as locally born with English as their first language. Many children from different ethnic backgrounds in Glasgow would therefore count as ‘native’ rather than ‘migrant’ – and the ‘migrant’ group is far from being homogeneous
Dillon’s analysis of the two schools showed that while it cannot be said migrants have improved attainment within Glasgow conversely there is no evidence that migrants detrimentally impact on overall attainment. What is more, the qualitative research findings suggest that migrant children tend to enhance classroom discussion; impart a broader social awareness and world view not only on their native peers, but also on some mainstream teachers; and in turn, impact upon native children and teachers attitudes towards migrants more widely. Thus, there are significantly strong markers of a positive impact and a firm suggestion that migrant children should be celebrated as Glasgow’s very own ‘cosmopolitan intellectuals’.
Stephen Dillon conducted his research as a collaborative master’s project at the University of Glasgow involving COSLA Strategic Migration Partnership, and Glasgow City Council’s English as an Additional Language (EAL) Service in association with Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet).
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To read the report in full visit http://www.migrationscotland.org.uk/our-research/collaborative-masters-project