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Polish children boosting results in Norfolk, minister claims

PUBLISHED: 16:30 06 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:52 06 January 2014

Elizabeth Truss MP. Picture: Ian Burt

Elizabeth Truss MP. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

Children of migrants have helped improve results in English schools, education minister Liz Truss has said.

She told MPs Polish youngsters had contributed to a boost in results in some subjects in her South West Norfolk constituency.

And Ms Truss said she completely disagreed with Labour shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt “making implications” that high migration had an impact on pupils’ academic performance.

Mr Hunt last month noted there was a “growing issue of white British boys not getting the education they want”, highlighting suburban coastal districts in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Kent.

He added: “It doesn’t matter that these are white boys. It’s not about the colour of their skin. It is a grouping that we know we have an issue with.”

Replying to a question from former shadow minister Diane Abbott, Ms Truss said: “I certainly notice in schools in my constituency in Norfolk that actually emigrants from Poland, for example, have helped improve results in some subjects and I completely disagree with your leader (shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt) in making implications about the impact of migrants on academic performance.”

Ms Abbott had asked the minister during education questions: “On the question of take-up of academic subjects at GCSE and A Level, do you accept that we should all be careful about making a direct link between educational under-achievement in our coastal towns and part of East Anglia and recent high levels of Eastern European migration?

“Because there were educational challenges in those areas long before Eastern Europeans showed up and children of immigrant descent can be some of the most aspirational children in our schools system.”

Ms Truss said she “absolutely agreed” with Labour MP Ms Abbott.

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