The Ministry of Education has funded more than $300,000 for children learning English as a second language in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty schools so far this year.

Figures released from to the Bay of Plenty Times under the Official Information Act show there are 848 ESOL funded students at 45 schools in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty.

The cost to fund the 646 students in Tauranga and 202 in the Western Bay cost for Term 1 and 2 was $311,212.

The number of ESOL-funded students in Tauranga and Western Bay had jumped 292 students in the last five years.


Greenpark School in Tauranga had the most ESOL-funded students with 89 pupils on its school roll who were learning English as a second language.

Deputy principal Jason Mischewski expected there would be about 100 ESOL-funded pupils on the school roll by the end of the year.

Mischewski said the majority of pupils on the school roll were New Zealand born but spoke another language at home.

"Having English as a second language is something they have to work through," he said.

The deputy principal said a high percentage of their ESOL students at Greenpark School had Indian parents.

Pupils also identified from countries including South Africa, the Philippines, Pakistan, Malaysia, Fiji, China, Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, Bangladesh and Latin America.

Mischewski said it was important for Kiwi children to learn alongside pupils from other countries in developing their global citizenship.

"If we want our students to be learners for life...working with and understanding others is an essential part of that," he said. "They have to be able to accept others."

The deputy principal said it was essential schools had the appropriate funding to be able to provide pupils with the opportunities of developing their English language.

Pukehina School principal Roger Reid said this was the first year the school had ESOL pupils on its school roll.

Reid said three children - two girls and a boy - from Kiribati had enrolled in the school after migrating to New Zealand at the end of last year.

"They have fit in really well... they struggle with English of course but saying that their attitude has been great. They are doing really well because they want to learn," he said.

"Our kids have had to learn another culture as well."

The school applied for ESOL funding at the end of last year, but funding was only available for two hours a week.

Reid said the Ministry of Education then offered 40 hours a week of funding through a separate initiative if the school could find a teacher. So they did.

A parent from Kiribati who lived nearby now comes in for two hours every morning on a school day to help teach the children English.

"We have taken her on as a teacher aide," Reid said.

Tauranga Regional Multicultural Society president Ann Kerewaro said funding for ESOL students was important for primary school children to learn English.

"They have to be able to speak English to be able to learn," she said. "If they are able to speak the language that is spoken here they will understand us more easily."

Kerewaro said it could be a traumatic experience for children to have to go to school in a different country where everyone spoke a different language.

"It is hard for them to settle," she said.

Kerewaro said many families migrated here so their children could learn to speak English.

"When you learn a new language, no matter what language it is, it helps us understand the people and the culture," she said.

English Language Partners Bay of Plenty manager Philippa Cairns said adults who had migrated here with their children often struggled to understand the school curriculum if they did not learn to speak English.

"The curriculum and the way of teaching in New Zealand is a bit different to what they are used to," she said.

Cairns said parents often found it difficult to talk to their child's teacher if they did not speak the language.

"There is a reluctance to approach them about issues because you wouldn't do that in another country," she said. "Parent-teacher interviews become tricky."

Homework also became an issue if they did not understand how to read, write and speak the language, Cairns said.

Students qualify for ESOL funding if they are new migrants or from a refugee background and don't meet listening, speaking, reading and writing requirements.

New Zealand-born students are eligible if at least one parent is a migrant and a language other than English is spoken at home.

ESOL funding for newly arrived migrant pupils in their first year at a New Zealand primary school receive $850 a year. Intermediate students receive $1150 a year, and college students get $1500.

Primary school and intermediate children from refugee backgrounds receive $1250 a year in their first two years and $1900 at college.

New Zealand-born students of migrant or refugee parents are eligible in years 0 to 4 for $650 a year after their first two terms in school for up to three years.

Ministry of Education secretary of enablement and support Katrina Casey said teachers with a recognised ESOL qualification were responsible for developing, planning, and implementing support for students from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

"Support programmes can be enhanced by learning assistants or support workers in schools, who ideally would also have suitable ESOL qualifications," she said.

"There is no one size fits all ESOL programme."

ESOL funded students by school (Term 1 and 2)
Arataki School: 17
Bellevue School: 9
Bethlehem College: 43
Bethlehem School: 7
Brookfield School: 9
Fairhaven School: 38
Gate Pa School: 46
Golden Sands School: 17
Greenpark School: 89
Greerton Village School: 27
Katikati College: 10
Katikati Primary School: 47
Matua School: 14
Maungatapu School: 11
Merivale School: 8
Mount Maunganui Primary School: 10
Mount Maunganui College: 10
Mount Maunganui Intermediate: 4
Omanu School: 16
Omokoroa School: 2
Oropi School: 4
Otumoetai College: 17
Otumoetai Intermediate: 8
Otumoetai Primary School: 19
Paengaroa School: 4
Papamoa College: 24
Papamoa Primary School: 20
Pillans Point Primary School: 17
Pongakawa School: 5
Pukehina School: 3
Selwyn Ridge School: 8
St Mary's Catholic School: 25
St Thomas More Catholic School: 7
Tahatai Coast School: 29
Tauranga Boys' College: 26
Tauranga Girls' College: 15
Tauranga Intermediate: 24
Tauranga Primary School: 29
Tauriko School: 5
Te Akau Ki Papamoa Primary School: 28
Te Puke High School: 28
Te Puke Intermediate: 10
Te Puke Primary School: 49
Waihi Beach School: 2
Welcome Bay School: 8
Source: Ministry of Education

Total cost of funding by year:
2013: $341,077
2014: $391,056
2015: $495,975
2016: $535,100
2017: $581,537
Source: Ministry of Education