Parents to protest over language class cut

The hustings at Portsmouth College - from left:  David Carpenter (college governor), Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dems), Ian McCulloch (Green), Steve Fitzgerald (college teacher and chair), Stephen Morgan (Labour), Kevan Chippindall-Higgin (Ukip) and Penny Mordaunt (Cons)   Picture: Heather Eggelton

Parliamentary candidates grilled by students at Portsmouth College debate

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Parents in Portsmouth are set to protest over the city council’s decision to cut funding for language classes.

The classes are for the children or grandchildren of immigrants who want to learn their mother tongue but cannot do so at school.

Portsmouth City Council says the classes, which are run by volunteer teachers, had to be closed as part of its swingeing budget cuts following the reduction of money given to it by the government following the recession.

Around £38,000 has been saved by the cuts, but the Community Language Trust, which operated in Hampshire, says it should be protected because it is an educational institution.

The trust’s chairman, Dr Talat Khan, said: ‘More than 1,200 children attend the classes and we provide education and activities for children at a very early age, when it’s easiest for them to learn a language.

‘We are also finding that when they have mastered one language, they will go on to learn others.

‘I think this is an activity that should be encouraged.

‘The languages they are learning are not available on the curriculum.’

The protest will take place at 3.30pm outside Portsmouth’s civic offices in Guildhall Square.

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