Becoming a Teacher: Issues in Secondary Teaching

By Justin Dillon; Meg Maguire | Go to book overview
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19 English as an Additional
Language: challenges of
language and identity
in the multilingual and
multi-ethnic classroom

Roxy Harris and Constant Leung


The demographic context

Becoming a teacher in contemporary Britain means developing effective practice with regard to pupils who come from ethnic and linguistic minority families. According to statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics for the DfES, in 2004, approximately 17 per cent of pupils in Primary and Secondary Schools in England were described as belonging to minority ethnic groups with roughly 11 per cent of those in primary schools and 9 per cent in secondary schools said to use English as an Additional Language (EAL) (TSO 2004). These figures, though, need to be treated with some caution since they contain certain inadequacies which will be examined later. However, we will first look at the way the broad figures disguise striking regional variations. To quote directly from other statistical analyses utilized by the DfES:

According to the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) the pro-
portion of minority ethnic pupils varies across England in maintained
schools from 4 per cent of the school aged population of the North East
to nearly three quarters of the school aged population of Inner London
(of whom 17 per cent are Black African; 12 per cent Black Caribbean;
11 per cent Bangladeshi; 9 per cent Any other White background; 8 per
cent Mixed Heritage background). The range by Local Education
Authority (LEA) [shows] that the school aged minority ethnic popula-
tion ranges (maintained schools) from 1.5 per cent of East Riding of
Yorkshire LEA to 84 per cent of Hackney LEA. London has a high

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