At Most Inner City Schools, English Is a Second Language

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH HARRIS

PUPILS who speak English as their first language are in the minority at most inner London primary schools.

Nationally, one in five primary pupils is from an ethnic minority, making non-English speakers a majority in many schools.

Government figures obtained by the Tories show that London has the highest proportion of primary and secondary school pupils speaking English as a second language.

In 348 of inner London's 695 primaries, at least half have a different mother tongue.

At 53 of inner London's 132 secondary-schools more than half of pupils have English as their second language.

And in more than a quarter of outer London's primary schools, English is not the first language for at least half of pupils.

This is the case in one in five of the area's secondary schools.

However, in the North-West, only 119 out of 2,581 have a majority of pupils speaking a different language-at home. The figures are similar-in the East Midlands, where it is the case for 51 out of 1,708 primaries, and the East of England, where it applies to 27 out of 2,065.

Overall, one in 16 primary schools has more than 50 per cent of pupils speaking English as a second language.

David Cameron has already called for English to become more widespread among immigrant families. The Tories used the figures to call for action to tackle racial segregation in inner cities.

Education spokesman David Willetts, who asked the parliamentary question, said: 'It's tough to teach high-quality education when more than half of your pupils don't have English as their first language. …