Search

Councillors clash over Havering’s literacy strategy

18:00 16 July 2013

Cllr Andrew Curtin

Cllr Andrew Curtin

Archant

A discussion about the borough’s literacy strategy almost turned into a debate about immigration.

Cllr David DurantCllr David Durant

Cllr Andrew Curtin (Con, Romford) and Cllr David Durant (Independent Local Residents’ Group, Rainham) clashed over the report at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday July 10.

Cllr Curtin said: “He was almost saying ‘who are these foreigners coming into the country who can’t speak English?’

“I have got a range of friends from different backgrounds and cultures and they all speak perfect English.”

The report looked at ways to improve literacy in the borough and ways to extend the good work being done in the area to increase it.

It sated: “language is the means by which we can diffuse controversies, offer compromises, explain our point of view, in the hope of finding a common group”.

But after hearing a presentation, Cllr Durant argued that the reason the issue had come before the cabinet is because of the rise in immigration.

He said: “The report places emphasis on teaching English to people who have English as a second language, therefore I am thinking it must be a serious matter to be able to teach these people English.

“It is now becoming a priority because of the large number of immigrants who are being allowed to come into this country who do not speak English.”

This was met by anger by Cllr Curtin.

He added: “Has Cllr Durant actually read my report?

“Like I said earlier, the English language can be used to oppress us, it can be used to control and constrain and to instill hatred and fear and Cllr Durant is a fine example of that happening.”

Cllr Curtin then went on to say that he was fluent in Russian and he found that it had given him a better understanding of English.

Cllr Durant responded: “That’s just political nonsense that reflects badly on him rather than on me”.

“I am merely pointing out that the reason this has become an issue is because so many people being allowed into this country who do not speak English.”

Despite the heated exchange earlier, the debate ended with a light hearted tone, with leader of the council Michael White speaking in Italian.

Cllr Curtin said later that he was “surprised” and “disappointed” in the “exclusive approach that was being taken to seclude people”.

He added: “I know lots of people from other countries who are very keen to learn English.

“It is not just about this group, there are lots of other reasons why people have poor literacy”

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

Swords of Essex (Paul Robinson, left, and Scotty Essex) in the ring.

More than 180 people watched the next generation of wrestling stars battle each other in the ring on Sunday, last week.

yoga picture for RHP

Reducing stress and anxiety can feel impossible at times, but a yoga teacher in Upminster says she can help residents find inner peace.

The launch of Here to help!, a new service opening in Havering, which will help any Havering residents over 16

Those in need across the borough can hope for a little more support with the launch of a new care programme.

Yesterday, 15:00
St Mary's Catholic School refurb.

Pupils at one of the borough’s largest faith schools will have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief when they returned to class this month.

Yesterday, 12:00
Adrian Baker is still touring today.

After a successful career spanning more than four decades, a chart-topping guitarist has recalled how it feels to perform in front of audiences around the world.

Yesterday, 10:00
Councillors and winners celebrate a successful London in Bloom competition.

Havering is this year’s biggest winners at the London in Bloom competition after it toppled last year’s previous record.

Fri, 16:05
Parking tickets on a car in a railway station.

Parking fines handed out to drivers in the borough have more than doubled in the space of five years.

Fri, 13:25
Ricky Hayden was killed earlier this month (Picture: Kosho Bar)

A teenager appeared in court for the first time today, charged with murdering Ricky Hayden and attempting to murder his father.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

VW Golf Estate

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now