Council steps in with extra year of funding to support BAME young people

Islington Town Hall. Photograph: Islington Council.

Islington Council has stepped in to fund services aiming to support BAME young people after its funding was formally cut this year.

Mother Tongue and Supplementary Schools (MTSS) providers used to be funded by Islington’s Schools Forum, but this ended after March this year due to “significant cost pressures” relating to supporting children with SEND in the borough.

The Town Hall’s children’s services have now put together a one-year-only bridging fund, made up of “a small MTSS underspend, a contribution from Communities and a small additional source” to keep the provision on life support until organisations can be pointed towards other sources of funding.

A children’s services scutiny committee report said: “To give settings additional time to secure alternative funding the council has identified one-off resources to enable settings to be funded for a further 12 months.

“Islington is privileged to have a strong and vibrant voluntary and community sector, which lies at the heart of our ambition for a fairer borough. The MTSS provision in Islington plays its part in that ambition.

“The MTSS Partnership provision has been funded by Schools’ Forum for a number of years and prior to that from other funding streams and aims to support the achievement of black and minority ethnic young people, by providing additional support in English, maths and other subjects.

“[It also aims to] raise self-esteem, confidence and promoting a sense of identity in young people through classes in mother tongue and culture, and by providing role models from students’ own communities in the form of the teaching staff.

“Nineteen MTSS providers were funded in 2016-17 to a total value of £151,360. Funding was also provided for the running of the MTSS Partnership – an oversight body providing focus and training for funded bodies.”

Organisations set to receive the one-off year of funding include the Arab Advice Bureau, the Bangla Education & Cultural Centre, the Highbury Quadrant School Association, and the Islington Somali Community.

Subjects to be taught as a result of the funding remaining in place for the year are Mother Tongue subjects, including Arabic, Bengali, Czech, Greek, Somali, Turkish, and Tigrinya, core subjects including Maths, English, Science, as well as Art, ICT Music, Drama, and Heritage.