HC Deb 09 May 2000 vol 349 c344W
Mr. Clappison

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made of the provision of specialist staff through Ethnic Minority and Travellers Educational Achievement Grant funding. [121253]

Jacqui Smith

The Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Grant (EMTAG) is designed to raise standards for those ethnic minority and traveller pupils at risk of under-achieving and to meet the particular needs of pupils for whom English is an additional language.

We are making available more money than ever before as part of our drive to raise the academic achievements of those ethnic minority groups at risk of under-achieving. For 2000–01, £162.5 million will be available to local education authorities and schools to improve the attainment of ethnic minority, traveller and refugee pupils—an increase of 7 per cent. on the amount available for these purposes in 1999–2000.

A key element of the grant programme is that the funding should largely go direct to schools, so that head teachers can use it where it is most needed—to employ more teachers and teaching assistants and to work with their local communities. Specialist teachers, bilingual assistants and other classroom assistants supported through the grant have a vital role to play in raising standards for ethnic minority pupils. We expect that, depending on local needs, a large proportion of the grant will be spent on teachers and classroom assistants. As a requirement of the grant, local education authorities are required to provide information about their plans for spending the grant and details of actual expenditure. We will also monitor the numbers of specialist staff employed by EMTAG through an independent evaluation of the grant.