IMMIGRATION is pushing up academic standards, the MP for Littlehampton has said.
Nick Gibb, the schools reform minister, told a national radio station pupils who spoke English as a second language tended to be academically more able.
“Children who speak English as a second language tend to push up the academic standards in schools because they’ve learned one language already,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar Politics.
“Those schools that tell me that they are struggling with their results because of higher proportions of children with a second language as English, I say to them their results should be higher still because those children have proven themselves able to learn another language and they are academically able,” he said.
Mr Gibb said the coalition government was expanding the number of school places with £5bn given to councils for more classrooms.
He also pointed to the government’s record in reducing net immigration by a quarter since 2010. Mr Gibb returned to the government last summer after being axed from the same role in a previous reshuffle.
His comments are at odds with those from Iain Duncan Smith, the works and pensions secretary.
The chief inspector of schools has also said they struggle to cope with an influx of immigrants.
Graham Jones, UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for the Bognor Regis and Littlehampton seat, said Mr Gibb was out of touch.
“He has shown he is not listening and is out of touch with the concerns of the people of this country.
“The opinions he has expressed are indicative of the detachment politicians in the Westminster bubble have been displaying for many years now,” he said.