28/02/2012 12:26 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Bradford School Where 26 Out Of 700 Pupils Speak English As First Language

Bradford school has under one in 20 pupils speaking English as first language PA

A primary school in Bradford has fewer than one in 20 pupils speaking English as their first language. The Telegraph reports that Byron Primary has just 26 out of 700 pupils speaking English as their mother tongue.

Despite the language barriers, the school is in the top 25 per cent in the country based on exam results and nearly 80 per cent of its Year Six pupils achieved the required standard for English and maths last year, higher than the national average.

Of the children attending the school, 96.3 per cent use another language. Most of the youngsters - who are aged from three to 11 - speak Punjabi dialects at home, and learn English as a second language.

The figures were released under a Freedom of Information Act request, and found that Byron Primary had the highest proportion of youngsters speaking an alternative first language in the Bradford district. The area has 54,146 school children, and more than 23,000 of them use foreign dialects, with 140 languages being used, including Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali and Polish.

Its head teacher Richard O'Sullivan said: "The majority of our children start school with levels of English language development that are below national averages.


However, many of these children are exceptional linguists with the ability to switch between languages. By Year Six, thanks to fantastic teaching, confidence and ability in English have developed and the learning skills acquired as very young linguists contribute to pupil progress.


Figures last year showed children were leaving here in line with the national average for maths and above the national average for English."

Only London, Slough, Luton and Leicester have higher numbers of non-English speaking youngsters than Bradford, with the national average being around one in six students.