Teachers and Polish children in primary schools: then and now

Dr Naomi Flynn

In this study teachers in primary schools were interviewed over a two year period (2007 – 2009) as Polish children arrived in considerable numbers to schools in parts of England not previously associated with a migrant population. Interviews focussed on how the teachers adapted their teaching for children new to English and on their views of how Polish children managed the move to schooling in England. Two key findings were 1) that the National Curriculum for English is written for monolingual speakers and this presents tensions for teachers in relation to assessment; and 2) that Polish children were perceived in a very positive light as ‘model learners’. Numbers of Polish children in the region studied have continued to rise and a follow up study is now (2016) under way to explore whether the new National Curriculum for English has had an impact on Polish children learning English and whether the model learner identity has persisted. Naomi is happy to hear from any interested teachers or parents who would like to know more.


Related publications:

  • Flynn, N. (2013) Encountering migration: English primary school teachers’ responses
    to Polish children. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 8(4), 336 – 351.
  • Flynn, N. (2013) Linguistic capital and the linguistic field for teachers unaccustomed to linguistic difference. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 34(2), 225 – 242