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1m pupils English not mother tongue

More than 1.1 million schoolchildren do not speak English as their first language, according to official figures.

New data suggests that the numbers of youngsters who do not have English as their mother tongue has rocketed, with around a quarter of a million more now speaking other languages at home, compared to five years ago.

In the last 12 months, the numbers of EAL (English as an additional language) children has risen by around 61,300.

Overall, one in six pupils in state primary and secondary schools, have a first language that is known, or believed to be, other than English - a total of 1,109,610 children.

This does not include special schools or pupil referral units (PRUs).

In 2013, around 15.9% of youngsters spoke English as a second language, while in 2009, it was 13.2%.

Figures suggest that there are now 252,940 more EAL children in primary and secondary schools than there were five years ago, in 2009.

In primary schools alone, as of January, almost one in five pupils (18.7%) did not have English as their mother tongue, while in secondary schools the figure was around one in seven (14.3%).

A Department for Education (DfE) spokeswoman said: "Schools are responsible for tailoring their provision to meet the needs of all their pupils and ensuring that they have the opportunity to realise their potential.

"They are best placed to make decisions on how to do this. Many schools teach pupils whose first language is not English successfully and schools will continue to make their own arrangements for this.

"By the end of key stage 4 (GCSE), pupils with English as an additional language are performing almost as well as pupils whose first language is English."

Figures show that in 2012/13, around 58.3% of pupils who had English as a second language scored at least five C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, compared to 60.9% of those for whom English is their first language.

The DfE statistics are part of a snapshot of the make-up of England's schools, based on data collected in January this year.

The new figures show that:

:: Almost three in 10 (29.5%) pupils in state primary schools are from a minority ethnic background, along with a quarter (25.3%) of those attending state secondary schools;

:: There are now 77 primary schools with more than 800 pupils, up from 58 at the same point last year;

:: Around 16.3% of state-educated pupils are eligible for free school meals - a key measure of poverty. This has dropped from 17.1% in 2013.

The statistics also reveal that, overall, there are 8.3 million pupils attending England's state schools, up 1% on 12 months ago.

Government statisticians said this increase is larger than in previous years and has been driven by a 2.5% rise in the number of primary school pupils, and offset by a 0.9% fall in secondary school children.


From Belfast Telegraph