They're coming to turf us out of our beds and EAT OUR CHILDREN! Part II

If you haven't read part I, read it now. Just skim it then.

What's this article actually about, if it's not just about how many children speak English as a second language? What's all this business of using stats from areas with low levels of immigrant pupils to exaggerate the scale of increases, omitting total figures to give no idea of proportion and just plain making shit up for?

If we go back to one of the early sentences, we get this:
A huge increase in numbers of students from countries such as Poland is leaving some councils with massive bills to fund additional support such as interpreters. (Emphasis mine),
Oh. Poland. The article is not so much raising alarm levels about the number of pupils with English as a second language as trying to imply that the level is skyrocketing because of new immigration, specifically Polish immigration. The words 'Poland', 'Polish' or 'Poles' are used eight times in this article. Other Eastern European countries are mentioned, but less often and Somalia is mentioned once. What this article is trying to do is create a problem - one in five pupils speak English as a second language - and blame this confected problem on Eastern Europeans generally and Polish people specifically. All the obfuscation, exaggeration and just plain bullshit in this article is geared towards creating a panic about Polish people. That's particularly loathsome when you consider the scare statistic of the headline is totally made up.

You might think I'm being harsh. I'm not. The very first sentence is:
Schools are being overwhelmed by an influx of new Eastern European arrivals as one in five primary pupils now come from ethnic minorities
Remeber from the last post that the levels of ethnic minority pupils aren't that relevant? Well, we can see why the article uses this number. We're supposed to infer from this sentence that the number of ethnic minority pupils has skyrocketed because of an 'influx of new Eastern European arrivals'. First of all, the article ignores the level of secondary school pupils, which is lower. But more important than this is that we know their idea is bollocks, because we have some idea of the real figures from the DfES report. The actual number of 'white other' pupils in primary schools is 2.6 percent. One tenth of the total. We have a good idea of how many 'white other' pupils combined for primary and secondary schools are actually Eastern European from the data from education authorities who use extended definitions for 'white other'. The total number of 'white other' pupils is 75,542. The total 'White Eastern European' pupils is 6,563. If this figure is carried across to the rest of the country, that's about 8.7 percent of 'white other' pupils, or roughly 0.2 percent of the total. Or 1 in 500. This truly horrible article is demonising Eastern Europeans by saying they're responsible for a massive increase in the number of ethnic minority pupils when in fact, even now, theyprobably represent around 1 in 500 pupils. One hundredth of the total of ethnic minority pupils the article quotes.

Now, on to the gratuitous mentions of Polish people. The second sentence is the one above that says, "countries such as Poland". We then have:

At least 27,000 school aged children have arrived with their parents in the UK since ten countries including Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic joined the EU on May 1 2004.
But the local council claims there are at least 10,000 Poles alone living there and it faces a funding deficit of up to £15million due to inaccurate population estimates.
In Ealing, West London, the number of Eastern European pupils enrolled in primary and secondary schools has increased from 810 in 2003 to 1,474.

Meanwhile numbers of Polish speaking pupils alone in primary schools has more than doubled from 205 to 582.
Slough which is spending £90,000-a-year running an assessment centre to help foreign children get admitted into local schools. Two primary schools have had to take in 60 Somalian and 50 Polish pupils respectively in just one term.

By January 2004, 688 pupils from non-English speaking countries had arrived in Slough. This had risen to 888 by January this year, with the main countries of origin including Poland.
Crewe, where Polish children started to arrive, mainly unannounced, last Autumn. Councillor Gwyn Griffiths, a Liberal Democrat member of Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, accused the government of failing to prepare schools for a possible influx of migrant children.
In Victoria Junior School, Wrexham, North Wales, 11 per cent of pupils speak English as a second language compared to five per cent in 2005. This is due to an influx of Polish workers in the area.
(Emphases there are all mine). So we've got a couple of times where the article says something like 'countries such as Poland' to deliberately single out Poland, and Poland is quite deliberately conflated with Eastern European throughout the article. We're supposed to believe that the real number of children with English as a second language is actually double the official number, all because of the Polish (and other Eastern Europeans).

If you want further proof that the article is more concerned with attacking Eastern Europeans and the Polish than talking about children with English as a second language, look at the quotes about Ealing:
In Ealing, West London, the number of Eastern European pupils enrolled in primary and secondary schools has increased from 810 in 2003 to 1,474.

Meanwhile numbers of Polish speaking pupils alone in primary schools has more than doubled from 205 to 582.
This is possibly the most important couple of sentences in the article. If the paper was really trying to raise concerns about children speaking English as a second language rather than stigmatising the Polish, it could force its point home by mentioning that the level of pupils who speak English as an additional language is actually 50 percent in Ealing. It chooses not to though - perhaps because Southall, an area famous for its large Asian population, is part of Ealing, which makes it more difficult to connect the figure with the Polish. So even though the 50 percent figure is far more relevant to the stated theme of the article, it chooses to emphasise the number of Eastern European pupils and specifically mentions Polish speakers at the expense of being able to ramp up the panic about children speaking English as a second language.

There's a nice bit of dogwhistling with the language here too. The paper uses the term 'economic migrants' twice, and the more common 'migrant workers' once. This does a couple of things. It implies that the migrants are not working, and it links into scare stories about asylum seekers - the term 'economic migrants' is often used to describe the motivations of failed asylum seekers. Here, the paper uses a term that will already have negative connotations for its readers and links to the paper's wider anti-immigration sentiment, something the paper has been doing quite a lot in the last few weeks.

The whole point of this article is to make us believe that a group that represents roughly 0.2 percent of the population is responsible for a massive increase in the number of children speaking English as a second language. That's just nasty. Want to hear the kicker? From the DfES report:
Analysis of international migration data from 1994-2003 by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that from 1994-2003, migration from the UK to European Union countries (outflow) was higher than the migration from these countries to the UK (inflow), resulting in a net outflow to EU countries over this period.
The only encouraging thing about this article at all is in the comments. There are only three here, which is unusual so it's likely there have been more that have been censored - but two of them aren't exactly typically Daily Mail. We have:
The British are as bad! Ask any Spanish school on the Costas about the British children of all ages who are enrolled by parents more concerned with fun in the sun than the quality of their child´s education.

- Sandra, Alicante, Spain
I am happy to think that these children are getting the help they need. Kids are amazing the way they soak up new languages. Many of the Eastern European kids will not be unfamiliar with the English language and it would'nt be long before they were fluent, I've seen this happen in a matter of months. Anyway, the vast majority of their parents are paying their taxes to this Government, shouldn't their children be helped to get on as well as possible? If they settle here they are future tax-payers themselves. My mother was 6 when she she started school and she knew no English at all. She was terrified and alone and I would not want this for any child. In the great scheme of things we are a rich country. Can we not give a bit of a leg-up to the new EU countries given as how we have plundered their natural resources for decades and now their young people to do jobs people in this country don't fancy?

- Liz, East Sussex, UK

It seems that the Mail readers quite like the Polish immigrants, and this tactic of demonising them seems to have backfired before. Reckon they'll stop trying?

Will they bollocks.

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