Study: Italian Children Fleeing Heavily Migrant Populated Schools

TO GO WITH AN AFP STORY BY Angus MACKINNON Migrants study in a classroom at the 'Lai-Momo' headquarters, a vocational training programme to teach skills in leather bag making to migrants, on November 28, 2017 in Lama di Reno, southern Bologna. The Lama Di Reno project is part of a …

A study claims that schools in Milan with high proportions of migrant pupils are seeing “white flight”, while teachers beg the government to help with increasing numbers of children who do not speak Italian.

The study, entitled “White flight in Milan: The social and ethnic segregation in compulsory schools,” examined the major urban areas of Italy’s second largest city and found that up to 56 percent of Milanese families were enrolling their children into non-catchment area schools to avoid schools with high proportions of migrants, Il Giornale reports.

In primary schools overall, around 20 percent of the pupils come from foreign backgrounds but in some areas, the proportion is much higher like at the Damiano Chiesa primary school where foreign children make up 70 percent of the total number of pupils.

“The teaching staff is excellent,” a parent of one of the pupils at Damiano Chiesa said, but added: “But the high concentration rate of foreign pupils gives the school a bad reputation and therefore neighbourhood families do not register their children here.”

Teachers at the Milanese schools have also called out to the city’s Mayor Beppe Sala for help due to the fact that many migrant children do not speak Italian making it incredibly difficult to teach them.

The teachers, along with school administrators and parents, wrote a letter to the mayor saying: “Over the past five years, there has been a considerable increase in the concentration of children with non-native speakers and from other countries that do not understand and do not speak Italian.”

“The difficulty in communicating with parents and the lack of knowledge of the cultures of origin of the families by staff working in the Educational Services requires the presence of translators or cultural mediators,” they added.

Italy is not the only European country experiencing high percentages of foreign-born children in schools.

In Germany, reports have claimed that school standards have declined due to lack of integration of migrant children, while others have linked a rise in violence to schools with higher proportions of migrant pupils.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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