English Not the First Language at One in Nine UK Schools

English Not the First Language at One in Nine UK Schools

When the BBC’s recent documentary The Truth About Immigration aired earlier this month, pro-immigration critics were quick to slam some statistics shared in the program as “sensationalist” or “extreme examples.”

One of these claims was that at a school in Southampton, 42 different languages are spoken and that the burden rests upon the taxpayer to fund translators and foreign language speakers in classrooms.

However, new figures from Britain’s Department of Education will only serve to highlight the concerns raised by those who have cautioned against the tidal wave of immigration Britain has incurred over the past decade.

It was revealed today that at one in nine schools across the UK, English is no longer the first language spoken by the majority of students.

Schools are having to recruit the services of foreign language speakers and translators in an attempt to include students who struggle with English and help them play catch-up.

Worse still, dozens of schools across the country have over 95 percent of their students listed as not speaking English as a first language, with many hundreds over the 75 percent mark.

More than 15,288 primary (elementary) and secondary (high) schools provided the Department for Education with information about the first languages of their pupils as part of the Britain’s annual schools census. Of them, 1,755 schools had a minority of English speakers, a rise of ten percent since 2009.

Conservative Member of Parliament Douglas Carswell told The Daily Telegraph, “Up until now immigration has been all about economics, but we need to start talking about the cultural impact too. We can’t hold it against an individual wanting to come to this country on behalf of their family, but are we doing all we can to integrate and assimilate?” 

“It’s time for a national debate about the impact of social cohesion in Britain today,” he stated. “I want to make sure that we create first and second generation Britons.”

One head teacher at Maidenhall School in Luton told the Telegraph that some pupils were up to two years behind the national average when they arrived there. She said, “Some of them have never seen the written word. At home the parents may not have any books, and when they come to us some of them only have words or phrases in English.”

The BBC’s immigration documentary from early January showcased St. Mark’s Church of England Primary School in Southampton, where just 40 percent of pupils are white British, and where 42 different languages are spoken at the school.

The headteacher Anne Steele-Arnett said on film, “We are full, and I think parents who are coming into the city now need to appreciate that they can’t sort of pick and choose anymore. The schools in the city are full to bursting.”

Britain’s immigration debate ambled along this week as an amendment to the government’s Immigration Bill was defeated. The amendment, by a Conservative Member of Parliament, would have ended the practice of foreign criminals hiding behind the European human rights law in order to assert their right to stay in Britain.


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