THE Balearics have the second highest number of immigrant children in local schools in Spain, which has forced the regional government to provide more resources for their integration.
This school year, the Balearic education ministry will provide more than 9.7 million euros for compensatory educational programmes aimed chiefly at new arrivals, but also for those pupils considered to be at risk or sick.
Joana Rossello, the director general of planning and innovation, said that it was important not to forget that every year we absorb new pupils and we have to find a response and distribute them well in order not to create ghettoes. One of the most important programmes is Attention and Advice, under which special teachers dedicate part of their time during the school day attending to foreign children outside the schoolroom.
They give them classes in Spanish and/or Catalan in order to help them catch up with the rest of the class as soon as possible.
A ministry spokesman said that six years ago there were 92 of these specialist teachers, this year there are 305.
Individual town councils can also employ cultural mediators who help students outside school hours. These monitors offer the children and their families educational, cultural, social and health care to speed up their integration.
There is also an education at home service for children who are ill or convalescing and therefore are unable to attend class for long periods.
This service has a budget of 27'000 euros (only in Majorca) and the teachers are provided by the committee which co-ordinates services for the disabled.
The education ministry also provides teachers at Son Dureta, where there are two teachers to attend to minors aged between three and 16 so that they do not fall too far behind in their studies.
The latest addition to the programme is the service of mediators who facilitate relations between the schools and the pupils' families.
There are other programmes for building a data base, training teachers in handling classes of mixed nationalities, therapeutic education and preparation of teaching materials.
For students at risk, there are external classrooms, where workshops are offered as alternatives to normal classes for part of the day.