A school in Leeds is to teach all its pupils English as a foreign language due to the huge number of non-native speakers.
City of Leeds School has pupils from more than 50 countries, with native English speakers a minority, and, according to the Daily Mail, is thought to be the first school to take this step.
The school’s pupils come from 55 different countries and speak 50 different languages. Around 85 percent do not speak English as their native language.
Countries of origin include Afghanistan, India, China, Romania, Pakistan, Czech Republic and Poland. Teachers with foreign language skills in Czech, Romanian, Russian and other languages have been hired to teach the pupils.
There is evidence that the language situation is causing the pupils’ education to suffer, with just 26 percent obtaining five GCSEs at grades A* to C, including Maths and English.
The school’s head teacher, Georgiana Sale, told the Mail: “Many of our pupils are not only new to English but they are not even literate in their own language.
“In some cases we are the first people to put a pen in their hand.”
Andrew Carter, leader of the Conservative group on Leeds City Council, condemned the move: “I don’t see how it’s going to be of any use to these young people who will need to be employed to not have English as their first language,” he said.
“To teach the national language as a foreign language seems to me to be almost throwing the towel in.
“The prime requisite of educating people of different nationalities who are currently living here and could be living here for the rest of their lives is they learn to speak English.
“It would appear to me that it is going to be a secondary consideration and it can’t be.”