DDs friend is leaving the school because "there will be 50% polish children."

(49 Posts)
LesAnimaux Mon 01-Jul-13 18:49:12

DD told us in the car on the way home. I gasped

DS shot back with "If she says that again, tell her you aren't friends with racists."

Cue DD getting upset and saying "but I like her".

The mother of this child is a parent governor. I wonder what reason she will give the school for moving her DD?

Is this racism? Or if there are a large proportion of children for whom English is a second language and have been moved into the school/country after reception is it a legitimate concern for other parents? Personally I can't see how it would affect my DCs education adversely. What am I missing?

Not sure about racism, but it certainly sounds xenophobic. If this girl starts picking up on her mother's values then the school might be better off without her.

DS3 idolises a boy in his class who comes from a family who are not quite EDL but not far off it. It concerns me, but I hope that DS3 is still young enough that our influence will outweigh anything he picks up at primary school (less worried about secondary as the one he'll be going to is multiethnic and more tolerant).

Moominsarehippos Mon 01-Jul-13 19:01:44

Crikey, that's a high pergentage for one group at a single school. I wonder what the thinking is? Our school is about 70+ per cent french. I wonder what she'd make of that.

Periwinkle007 Mon 01-Jul-13 19:08:56

my daughter's year is about 50% Polish and my other daughter's class looks to be similar for the autumn. I have to admit I did have some concerns initially about whether it would impact my child in the playground with making friends and with learning but as soon as I spoke to the parents it was clear that they speak very good English on the whole and the children have mixed pretty well. The families are lovely and very hard working and their children seem to have inherited this. They look set to be an asset to the school.

Alanna1 Mon 01-Jul-13 19:10:41

Too much ESL could be a concern for me, but some I think is not only fine but a real plus for diversity. Think your friend is being silly.

burberryqueen Mon 01-Jul-13 19:12:02

Polish kids do well and often have pushy parents fwiw

ReallyTired Mon 01-Jul-13 19:17:18

In someways I think that immigration is the white elephant that no one dares talk about.

There is a huge difference between a multicultural school and a school which is one foreign culture. If a school is 90% polish then the children will speak Polish to each other and the 10% English children will feel isolated.

Is the school really 50% polish? (I think that a large unsupported number of EAL children (whatever nationality) is an issue. However if there is suitable funding and training for the teachers then the EAL children can raise the standards of the school. Certainly EAL children at my children's school make a positive contribution to the school community and produce good results.

Statistically working class white boys are far more of a menance. Many schools are 50% working class boys and the breeding ground of the EDL. smile

wordfactory Mon 01-Jul-13 19:21:39

I think any mono culture has an impact on a school/organisation.

Polish immigrants tend to be conservative, catholic and educationally ambitious for their DC...this will have an effect on your classrooms.

burberryqueen Mon 01-Jul-13 19:23:44

There is an immigrant Polish kid down the road here, his dad works at a breakers yard, just started Cambridge last year.......

Periwinkle007 Mon 01-Jul-13 19:31:36

yes our school is Catholic and it really is very heavily Polish but the children only hear English in the classroom, as far as I know they don't speak Polish in the playground (DD certainly never complained about it and is friends with quite a few of them) almost all the parents speak English to their children when dropping them off or picking them up and the school separated children who were trying to get others to translate for them rather than pick up English themselves. If it was more mixed ESL it would probably be less of a concern to people as too heavily dominant of one other language/culture will no doubt exclude the other children but so far it doesn't seem to have been a problem as far as I know. Whether in the autumn with half the playground being Polish (when both 50%ish years are the only ones there) there will be more of a problem I am not sure but I am expecting school standards to rise to be honest as the parents expect good results. I am actually considering trying to get one of the mums to teach my girls some Polish, any additional language skills at this age will be useful to tune their ears in to something different and learn to pronounce different words. Doesn't mean they have to go around talking it or that it will be a useful language in the future but it can only help when they do come to learn languages later.

It is xenophobic not racist, but still horrible.

IME as a teacher Polish children are generally literate and pick up The English language rapidly as many Polish families already speak English as a second language. They have high expectations of their children and their children work hard and are generally well behaved. The children I have taught have actively sort out friendships with English children as well as had friendships with other Polish children. They also integrate really quickly into English culture, slang and mannerisms.

It really wouldn't worry me at all, but then I have worked in inner London schools where white English children were 30% of the intake and the children had friends from many backgrounds.

LesAnimaux Mon 01-Jul-13 19:36:47

I agree with so much posted on this thread!

It's a Catholic school, which is why there are so many Polish DC. It was 20% Polish four years ago when my DC started there...plus a few other Eastern Europeans, and a few other nationalities. I suspect it's 50% English as a first langue, rather than 50% Polish. If there are going to be 50% Polish in September, that means an large % of the reception class will be Polish.

Of course there are all sorts of other nationalities attending the school. One little boy, who's parents are Italian once asked my DD infront of my what language her Mummy spoke. DD looked confused, so I said "English". He said; "No, what other language do you speak? What do you speak at home?" He looked perplexed when I told him the only language our family speak is English. grin

Polish children certainly are well behaved.

wordfactory Mon 01-Jul-13 19:39:14

If it's a catholic school anyway, then the religious aspect of polish immigrants probably won't bother you grin.

That said, they tend to be far more conservative than their Brit counterparts vis a vis homosexuality/abortion etc

spanieleyes Mon 01-Jul-13 19:40:21

I have several polish children in my class, the school has around 15% polish children overall. The highest ability child in my class is polish as is my lowest ability-but he has SEN too. Both have been in England since Year 2( so nearly 4 years) I generally find ( sweeping generalisation here!) that the Polish children work extremely hard, their parents are very supportive and they pick up English very quickly-it is what they are in England to do! They do speak Polish to each other on the playground but never when playing with English speaking children. They are also extremely well behaved and a pleasure to teach.

ishchel Mon 01-Jul-13 19:43:24

where I grew up, (abroad) the white kids from monolingual parents who emigrated to the tourist resort caribbean town where I lived benefited from becoming bilingual just by hanging out with their bilingual friends in the playground and neighbourhood. Maybe this is an opportunity for your child to pick up some basic polish (a really hard language to learn as a second language) for the cost of ...nothing.

Pyrrah Mon 01-Jul-13 20:09:22

Even if it was 50% Polish, I don't think that would really be a big worry - all the Polish and other EU kids at DD's school all seem to speak English in the playground - even with each other - and they are definitely well-behaved with ambitious supportive parents.

I totally understand parents worrying when 90% of other students are of ONE language, culture or gender as this lack of diversity can prove problematic in terms of friendships for the minority.

Periwinkle007 Mon 01-Jul-13 20:26:45

wonder if we are talking about the same school OP? Polish numbers have rocketed in the last year or so from what I gather

LesAnimaux Mon 01-Jul-13 20:30:20

Periwinkle007, there are probably loads of schools like this. Every time a child leaves the school (which I estimate at 10% since Christmas but the official line is "about 4%") it seems the place has been filled by a Polish child. Better than falling numbers, IMO.

Periwinkle007 Mon 01-Jul-13 20:32:45

very true - I think we have only had 2 child leave in my daughter's year since september and now we have got back down to 30 in the class rather than the 32 after appeals.

Bumpstarter Mon 01-Jul-13 20:36:18

It is annoying when eastern Europeans are all labelled as polish, too. Like they are 'all the same'

badguider Mon 01-Jul-13 20:42:06

I went to a catholic primary school in the 1980s and there were a large proportion of irish, italian and polish descended people then. The polish families tended to be descended from grandparents who came over during and after WWII rather than recent immigrants but they were still quite culturally Polish.
Most of the Italian families spoke italian at home.

It wouldn't worry me, if you've chosen a catholic school you'll have a lot in common with these families.

Chandon Mon 01-Jul-13 20:45:34

Goodness, really?

I am from Eastern Europe and I would not be happy for my children to be in a class where half the children are unable to follow the curriculum (and make adequate progress) because they do not speak the language, regardless of what race or nationality these people are.

Obviously there will be an averse effect, unless they are born here or ahve been here for years, and then clearly the statement would have been racist and odd.

so not knowing the background, or whether these children speak English, it is hard to say!

Periwinkle007 Mon 01-Jul-13 20:52:37

I don't think anyone is necessarily calling all Eastern Europeans Polish, in our school they are Polish and (quite rightly) proud to be. We also have a mix of families who speak Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Slovakian, Czech, Greek and other languages at home alongside or in preference to English.

LesAnimaux Mon 01-Jul-13 21:38:00

Chandon when DD started on reception only one child couldn't speak English. All the other children whose first language wasn't English had been to the school nursery, and had enough English to communicate at school, and have always been able to follow the curriculum.

The only concern I can see is if children join the primary school in the juniors with no English. One boy did join DD's class recently. I can't remember where he's from, but at home they speak Russian and apparently was living in Germany before England. I've never met him, but DD assures me he speaks very good English.

Periwinkle007 Mon 01-Jul-13 21:45:04

yes I think in my daughter's class there were only 3 or 4 who spoke no English (one of whom was from a different Eastern European country) and a couple who spoke minimal so it really hasn't been the problem it would look on paper.

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