English isnt first language for nearly 15pct Brit school kids

April 30th, 2008 - 5:00 pm ICT by admin  

London, Apr 30 (ANI): They live in Britain, but the first language spoken by more than 800,000 schoolchildren is not English, official figures have disclosed.

A research has found that 14.4 per cent of children aged five to 11 speak languages other than English.

Almost 500,000 children in primary schools have English as a second language an estimated one in seven with a further 350,000 pupils in secondary schools.

It follows a significant rise in the number of school pupils from immigrant families. Their numbers have almost doubled in a decade to reach record levels in England’s schools.

In some areas, children without English as their first language account for more than half of all pupils.

According to figures published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families April 29, 14.4 per cent of children aged five to 11 speak languages other than English in the home compared with 13.5 per cent 12 months ago making a total of 470,080 pupils.

In secondary schools, there are 354,300 pupils with English as a second language. That proportion increased from 10.6 to 10.8 percent.

The figures disclosed that in 14 local authorities almost one in 10 English-speaking primary school pupils are in the minority.

In the London borough of Tower Hamlets, only 23 per cent of pupils speak English as their first language. In inner London primary schools, children with English as their first language are in the minority, the survey found.

One primary school Newbury Park in east London teaches children who speak more than 40 languages, including Tamil, Swahili, Bengali, Cantonese, Spanish, Japanese and Russian.

Jim Knight, the schools minister, admitted that “undoubtedly there can be problems” for schools with a high concentration of pupils speaking other languages as their mother tongue.

“This has happened because the Government failed to follow our policy of taking into account the impact of immigration, the Telegraph quoted Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, as saying. (ANI)

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