Saturday, 20 June 2015 15:00

40% English language gap could see next generation fall behind

Media release, June 17, 2015

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has called for increased funding for English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in NSW public schools in the forthcoming state budget.

WSROC President Cllr Tony Hadchiti said chronic underfunding of ESL programs is letting down our newest Australians, particularly in areas of high migrant and refugee settlement such as Western Sydney.

“A good grasp of the English language is essential for children to excel in the NSW school system, and gives them the best chance of success as they enter higher education or employment,” he said.

According to the Department of Education and Communities 2014 enrolment statistics, 40 per cent of children in Greater Western Sydney with ESL needs were not receiving any specialised teaching support[i].

“We are a migrant society. As a result, demand for state-wide ESL programs is growing and will need increased resources to run effectively,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“This is particularly true in some Western Sydney public schools where ESL learners make up the majority of all student enrolments,” he said.

“There are around 250 different languages spoken across Western Sydney, and 32 percent of residents were born overseas from a non-English speaking background[ii].

“Most schools do not have the resources or training to properly cater for their increasingly diverse student population,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“Funding for frontline specialists in key areas of ESL need, as well as professional development for teachers are essential if our State schools are to adequately cater for the needs of the next generation.”

“On June 23rd, the Baird Government has an opportunity to increase funding for ESL education in Western Sydney public schools,” said Cllr Hadchiti.

“These children are the future of Western Sydney, and the future of NSW. We call on the NSW Government to prioritise this future in its forthcoming state budget,” he said.

Media contact: Kelly-Anne Gee, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 02 9671 4333 


[i]Statistics compiled by the ESL and Refugee Education Working Party. Calculations based on data from:

-       Language Diversity in NSW government schools in 2013, Centre for educational Evaluation and Statistics, DEC

-       Schools: Language Diversity in NSW, 2014 Centre for educational Evaluation and Statistics, DEC

-       Multicultural Policies and Services Program Report 2013-2014, DEC

[ii] Australian Census 2011 data via (n.d.). Region: Birthplace. Available from:

Last modified on Thursday, 25 June 2015 15:12

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