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Stevens Machi Solicitors

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Impact of International and EAL Students

New analysis published by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford has revealed how migration has shaped the composition of school and university students over the past two decades.

The analysis looked at children with English as an additional language (EAL) and highlights that not all are migrants – many of these children are born in the UK and there is evidence that a majority speak very good English.

The analysis found that EAL students have lower levels of educational achievement when they start school, compared to pupils recorded as having English as their first language. However, they make faster progress and the gap is overcome by age 16.

Interestingly, the research found no evidence that the presence of EAL students affects the performance of classmates whose first language was English.

“Migration has clearly had an enormous impact on the composition of school pupils in the UK, particularly in London,” commented Madeleine Sumption, Director of the Migration Observatory. “This presents a logistical challenge for schools and local authorities, but so far there is no evidence that the outcomes that ultimately matter most - the performance of children in schools - have been affected.”

In the case of UK universities, the major migration-related development of the past decade has apparently been the growing number of international students from outside of the European Union. Between 2005-6 and 2014-15 academic years, the share of higher education institutions’ income that came from non-EU student fees grew by two thirds, from 7.7% to 12.7%. Non-EU students paid tuition fees of £4.2 billion in the 2014-15 academic year.

However, the Migration Observatory says that so far there is relatively little evidence on some of the broader impacts of international students on the UK, such as impacts on the country’s research environment, its labour and housing markets, or cooperation with students’ countries of origin.

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