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1m pupils speaking English as a second language

The number of schoolchildren speaking English as a second language has topped one million for the first time.

Schools face challenges with students who don't speak english

The number of schoolchildren speaking English as a second language has topped one million for the first time.

Official figures released by the Department for Education, show that more than 1-in-6 pupils in primary schools now speak other languages in the home following a sharp increase in the last 12 months. In secondary schools, at least 1-in-8 children have a relatively poor grasp of English, it emerged.

The data shows that the number of pupils aged five-upwards speaking other languages has soared by almost 50,000 – or 5% – to a record high of just over a million.

Figures suggest that the proportion of children starting school with English as a second language has now doubled in just over a decade. The rise comes despite fears over cuts to budgets set aside to teach children from immigrant and refugee backgrounds.

Head teachers’ leaders said that schools with small numbers of foreign-born pupils inevitably suffered most as they struggled to buy in specialist support for pupils.

Figures show that in parts of London as many as three-quarters of pupils now speak other languages.

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