Monday, 12 April 2010

Comin' Over Here

I don’t wish to come across as all Anton Vowl but if you even so much as glance at the Daily Express that is what will happen and today is no exception.
 “Strangers in our own Country” screams the headline and is reinforced in the by-line, “’English’ pupils are now the minority in 1,500 schools throughout the UK”. 

So is this true and what do they mean by “English”.
 Well, they later confirm that they really mean English as a first language, “Since 1997, the number of schools in which more than 50 per cent of pupils have English as their second language has almost doubled.” So they can still speak English then, it’s just that they can speak another language too, how very un-English of them.
 And 1,500 schools, that does sound like a lot doesn’t it? Yes it does but they are using the favourite media trick of removing the context.
 In 2007 there were 25,018 (click on Excel for the numbers) schools in the UK. So that is 6% then. Not that many schools in which more than 50% of pupils speak another language as well as English. Not that scary then, hey and if that encourages the “English” pupils to learn another language that would be nice.

Good point update,

As pointed by Jon Treadway on Twitter, does the survey that this article was based on include Welsh speakers? Now, I hadn't thought of that but a quick bit of Google action has shown me that 20% of pupils in Wales attend Welsh-medium schools and all pupils are taught it as part of the curriculum up to the age of 16.
As the survey that they used as their jumping off point for this article included all schools in the UK then it seems likely that it did included the Welsh speaking ones but they seem to have chosen to ignore this as it doesn't fit their pre-existing narrative.

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