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Call for investment in language teaching

13/08/2009 Joanna
Those with jobs in education may be interested to hear the results of the 2009 Schools Census, which reveals the number of British schoolchildren who are not native English speakers has reached 900,000.

In the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, English is the first language for just over one in five primary school children.

Anastasia de Waal, head of education at the think-tank Civitas, has called for more money to be spent improving language skills.

Ms de Waal told the Telegraph: "Unless significant investment is made in language classes we are left with a situation in which young people struggling to speak and understand the teacher are disadvantaged,while their peers who speak English are unable to progress."

The census also found the number of children eligible for free school meals has risen by 21,410;the first increase in three years.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "We're determined not to abandon communities to long-term unemployment and risk generations of families falling into and staying in poverty."

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