The report showed that out of the 360 pupils in one school, 342 spoke Punjabi as their first language, with only six students speaking in English. According to the data they gathered from the Department of Education, there are several classrooms around the country where Pashto, Tamil, Arabic, Gujarati, Somali, Bengali and Polish were commonly spoken rather than English.
Steven Woolfe, an MEP of the UK Independence Party (UKip) said that this situation only showed the inability of the government to contain mass immigration, which is now causing major problems in the provision of public services, including education services. He added that how schools could cope with the various languages is not yet known, but predicts that it could lead to education standards to get lower.
Ann Widdecombe, a former Tory MP and now a columnist with the Daily Express said that it should not matter what language immigrants speak when they first arrive in the country. She believes that school lessons should be taught only in English.
Foreign languages in several schools
Based on the research findings, there are several schools in the country where foreign languages are more dominant, including schools in Bradford, Bolton, Sheffield, Slough, Birmingham, Rochdale, Oldham as well as parts of London. Details of the study revealed surprising data. In Oldham for example, there are 360 pupils enrolled at the Burnley Brow Community School. However, 352 of the pupils regularly speak Bengali. The situation is repeated at Westwood Primary School where 170 out of the 175 pupils speak Bengali as their first language. In Slough, majority of the pupils at the Khalsa Primary School speak Punjabi. Urdu is the language most pupils at Rochdale’s Hamer Community Primary School speak. Urdu is also the first language of most pupils at Bolton’s Valley Community Primary School
This is welcome news for Campaign for Real Education chairman Christopher McGovern who said that Britain is a country that is good for pupils whose second language is English because the schools in the country have spent plenty of attention and time to look after these types of pupils. Still, he said, there should be a balance and that they should also ensure that the native English speakers are not overlooked, especially in schools where they have become a minority. He said that such a situation is putting more demands on particular schools.
Statistics have revealed that schools in Britain where 50 percent of the pupils speak other languages have increased to 7.4 percent, whereas it was only 3.7 percent 17 years ago.