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Thursday, 2 December 1976

Mr STEWART - St John's College at Lakemba has 623 students in years 5 to 10 or, in oldfashioned language, from fourth class to fourth form. Of those boys 405 come from 34 different countries, 373 of those boys come from 29 non-English speaking countries and 32 come from 5 English speaking countries. Without the ESL teachers- English as a second language teachers- the average numbers in English classes in years 5 to 8 increases from 20 pupils to 35 pupils. Brother Luke advises me that he is now receiving one application a week for the enrolment of migrant children, mainly in the lower classes and mainly involving newly arrived migrants. This is before the enrolments for 1977 have really opened. So Brother Luke can look forward to having a large increase in the number of migrant children attending St John's College at Lakemba. A test carried out in 1975 comparing the reading age with the chronological age showed that in year 10 students with a reading age of 24-plus months below their chronological age was 35.5 per cent, in year 9 it was 37.8 per cent, in year 8 it was 37.5 per cent and in year 7 it was 33.9 per cent. This alarming and heartbreaking situation compels me to bring the matter to public notice. I merely request the Minister for Environment, Housing and Community Development, who is at the table, to advise the Minister representing the Minister for Education that I believe that immediate, thorough and favourable consideration should be given to the allocation of special grants to St John's College, Lakemba, and to other schools- not only in New South Wales but also in other parts of Australiawhose young pupils are faced with a similar souldestroying problem.

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