KIRKLEES Council was today accused of doing children no favours by still employing bilingual teaching assistants.
Tory councillor Imtiaz Ameen said it discouraged pupils from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds from speaking English.
He said: "It does nothing to improve the English spoken by these children and it does nothing to improve their job prospects when they leave school."
Clr Ameen, a councillor for Thornhill, said the employment of bilingual teaching assistants wasted a large slice of £4m given by the Government for the council's Ethnic Minority Achievement project.
He added: "Pupils with Chinese and Indian backgrounds excel academically because they speak good English.
"These children don't need bilingual support. The question needs to be asked why the council continues to pursue a policy which has a detrimental effect on a child's development."
Clr Ameen said Kirklees had shown a lack of imagination in trying to help children with English as a second language and that non-qualified classroom assistants were simply a cheap option.
"After several years of receiving this additional funding, the results of Pakistani and Bangladeshi children are still substantially lower than other minority groups.
"It is fairly obvious the current use of this money has not yielded satisfactory results."
Clr Ameen said that as many youngsters were leaving school unable to speak English, their prospects were poor and also they were more likely to get into trouble.
The council should get rid of bilingual assistants and employ more teachers, he said.
But Liberal Democrat councillor John Smithson, the council's deputy leader, said: "He's wrong. He's making a caricature of the work of the bilingual staff.
"Their role is helping to make the transition to the use of English."
Clr Smithson said assistants had a valuable role.
He added: "The role is very effective. We use support staff in all schools, not just schools where there are children from different cultural backgrounds.
"They are very, very effective across the board, in terms of providing quality of education and in terms of allowing a teacher to make maximum use of his or her time.
"We are satisfied with the way the system works," said Clr Smithson.
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