Revealed: 500% rise in Wisbech pupils who do not speak English as first language

THE number of Wisbech primary school pupils who do not speak English as their first language has increased by more than 500 per cent in the last six years.

Figures released by Cambridgeshire County Council reveal the dramatic rise within the catchment area of Thomas Clarkson Community College.

There are now 554 primary school pupils who do not speak English as their first language - up from just 96 in 2006. This figure represents almost 20 per cent of the 2,878 primary school pupils in the catchment area.

Last year, more than 15 per cent of Thomas Clarkson’s 1,349 pupils did not speak English as their primary language. This figure stood at less than three per cent in 2006.

October’s Ofsted inspection, which rated the secondary school satisfactory, found the proportion of students who speak English as an additional language exceeded the national average.

Ofsted Inspector Derrick Baughan said: “Within the college a wide number of languages are spoken.

“Learning community leaders regard the RESPECT initiative as fundamental to achieving a multi-cultural college society.

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“Some students say that there remain elements of cultural differences emerging in minor rivalries between groups.”

The county council was unable to reveal the total of pupils of “non-British National parentage” in each of the schools as this information was not held.

But the statistics did reveal a drop in the number of parents fined for failing to ensure their children attend school.

There were 28 fines handed out for unauthorised absence during 2008/09, but just 21 during 2010/11.