Byron Court in London is a primary school where diversity is truly embraced. Iraq, Somalia, India, Nepal, Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus, just to name a few, are where many of the students from that now attend the school. Many of the children speak little to no English, with ages ranging from 5 years old to 8 years old.
It’s vital there’s no differentiation between any languages or any culture. We do that by celebrating the diversity of the culture in the school.” Said Martine Clark, the executive head teacher at the school.
Many of the students admit that coming to the English school was a bit of a shock, and learning a new language was extremely difficult. But most said they grew comfortable in a manner of months, with the Byron Court school having enough outstanding teachers who are invaluable to integrating the students.
“It takes time to learn a new language. But children learn very quickly.” Said Martyn Pendergast, an educational officer.
Said one student, “It was really hard but I learned it in two months. Not all the words just some of them.”
What was seen as an initial disadvantage for students coming into the school not knowing English, is now a tremendous advantage of being fully bilingual.
On the playground, the children flourish, but one of the most striking things about the school is the almost total absence of white British children. Christopher McGovern, the chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, has some great concerns.
“The problem is not the migrant children. The problem is the white working class children who are doing very badly at school.”
Just recently, there has been a rise of white British families leaving urban areas for more distant suburbs or into the countryside.