Wisbech schools higher than the national average for number of Eastern European students

School league tables

School league tables - Credit: © Royalty-Free/CORBIS

WISBECH schools are higher than the national average when it comes to the number of Eastern European children in the classroom.

Thomas Clarkson Wisbech

Thomas Clarkson Wisbech - Credit: Archant

Across the country, there is an average of one in six pupils who learn English as an additional language, according to a national support network.

Thomas Clarkson.

Thomas Clarkson. - Credit: Archant

At Wisbech the figure is higher.

Princess Royal in Wisbech in November 2005 when she visited the Orchards school and the Oasis Centre

Princess Royal in Wisbech in November 2005 when she visited the Orchards school and the Oasis CentrePicture. Brian Purdy - Credit: Archant

At one school almost half the children are from Eastern Europe while at others the figure is up to one in five pupils.

The news ties in with national statistics that show the number of students speaking English as an additional language has more than doubled in the last 15 years.

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Across the UK there were around half a million pupils in 1997 whose first language was not English.

That figure has risen to 1.1m in 2012.

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Almost half the children - 178 out of 384 - at Orchards Primary are from Eastern Europe according to figures released this week from Cambridgeshire County Council.

The school has plans to increase pupil places from 420 pupils to 630.

Cambridgeshire County Council says the need is due to a rise in the birth rate in Wisbech which means extra school places will be needed from September 2013.

Elsewhere in the town, other schools show a rise in the percentage of young people who speak English as a second or additional language.

At Ramnoth School just under half of the pupils - 90 out of 215 - are Eastern European, while at Nene Infant there are more than one in three - 77 out of 208.

At Peckover Primary one in three youngsters are from Eastern Europe - 109 out of 320 - while at Elm Road Primary there are one in four - 58 out of 231.

At St Peter’s Junior the figure is one in eight - 31 out of 240.

At secondary school level, around one in five students - 243 out of 1,244 - at Thomas Clarkson Academy are from Eastern Europe,

Cllr David Harty, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Learning said: “Pupils who come from other countries and speak different languages add to the rich educational experience in our schools.

“They bring with them a different outlook and a range of traditions and values, which can be stimulating for both pupils and teachers.”

The National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum, NALDIC, which provides national statistics on ethnicity in the classroom, said it was important to promote effective teaching and learning of English to ensure young people felt included at school.

The group’s aim is to ensure language and culture are not barriers to education.

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