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Most speak another first language - One in six pupils do not speak English

LONDON, June 13, (AFP): More than one million pupils in statefunded schools in England — one in six — do not speak English as their first language, official figures out Thursday showed.

The number has swelled by a third in the last five years to 1.11 million children, or 16.6 percent, according to the Department for Education statistics for January 2014.

In London primary schools, where pupils are aged five to 11, the figure is 48.1 percent. It rises to 75.8 percent in the Tower Hamlets borough and 75.3 percent in neighbouring Newham borough in east London, both areas with high levels of immigration. Outside London, English is not the first language of at least two in five primary school pupils in Birmingham (43.1 percent), Bradford (43.4 percent), Leicester (48.8 percent), Luton (51.5 percent) and Slough (58.3 percent).

A Department for Education spokesman stressed that by the time pupils sit their GCSE exams at 16, “pupils with English as an additional language are performing almost as well as pupils whose first language is English”.

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