Ethnic Minority Achievement – looking at the next 50 years of Milton Keynes

Councillor Zoe Nolan at the event
Councillor Zoe Nolan at the event

Education experts attended a recent seminar in Milton Keynes looking at how to tackle the evolving challenges of schooling in a diverse society.

The seminar was organised for Milton Keynes Council by its Ethnic Minority Achievement Network.

It aims to:

raise pupils’ attainment

develop English as an additional language speakers (EAL)

help access to education for pupils’ of Gypsy Roma and Traveller heritage

promote cultural and religious awareness

champion school inclusion and socialisation for refugee children

offer spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) including British values

The seminar gave practitioners the opportunity to learn from each other and the keynote speakers.

A highlight of the seminar was the Pupil Voice video, featuring local children, and bringing their priorities of children, their families and teaching staff to the fore of the event.

The guest speakers were Hamish Chalmers, of Oxford Brookes University and NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum) whose topic was ‘Using first language in the classroom, what the research does and does not tell us.’

He was followed by Astrid Dineen, of the Hampshire Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service, who spoke about the award-winning Young Interpreter Scheme.

Councillor Zoe Nolan, who opened the awards, said: “This seminar – the second of its type – was very successful and everyone who came took something positive away.

“As Milton Keynes moves into the next half century we will be bringing with us the traditions, cultures and languages of many people – the future is complicated, with bilingualism and multilingualism being a factor in many people’s lives.

“At present, it is said that 166 languages are spoken within Milton Keynes households and that number is set to grow – we must be ready to deal with associated challenges.”