Impact of the 'Immigration Decade' on English Primary Schools


November 28, 2010

The dramatic impact on Primary schools of the massive increase in immigration into the UK in the last decade has been spelled out in a new paper from think tank Migrationwatch.

The paper examines the effect of a net increase of more than 2.5 million long-term immigrants from non English speaking countries, between 1991 and 2008.

It follows an earlier Migrationwatch paper which showed that over the next five years to 2015 over half a million more school places will be needed for the children of recent immigrants to the UK - those who arrived after 1998 – at a total cost of £40 billion over the period.

‘These pupils will of course continue through the education system - with all the attendant costs - but it is primary schools where the effect is being felt most acutely at present and where the education of English speaking children is bound to suffer as immigrant children require extra help, ’ said Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman.

The paper examines England as a whole, individual regions, and three groups of Local Education Authorities (LEAs) - London Boroughs, the largest urban boroughs outside London, and the remaining LEAs in England. It also projects the numbers to 2018.

In total, between 1991 and 2008, there was a net increase of over 2.5 million in long-term immigrants arriving in the UK from non English speaking countries, mostly to settle. Of these, two million arrived between 1998 and 2008.

The effect on birth rates has been intensified by the rapid increase in the number of foreign born women of reproductive age. In 2007 this total was nearly 43% higher than in 2001.

In contrast, the number of UK born woman of reproductive age was nearly 3% lower in the same period.

In the period 1994 to 2009 the proportion of births to foreign born women rose from 14% to 25%.

In the period 1998 to 2010, the proportion of children in primary schools in England for whom English was not the mother tongue nearly doubled to 16%, or over half a million out of 3.2 million children.

In inner London native English speaking children are already in a minority - in 2010 55% of all primary school pupils did not have English as their first language.

In Outer London the proportion of pupils without English as a mother tongue almost doubled from 22% to 39%.

In six out of the nine regions and in England as a whole, the percentage of children without English as a mother tongue also nearly doubled from 8.5% to 16%.

‘Our projection suggests that the percentage of primary school children in England without English as a mother tongue will increase to 22.7% in 2018, or almost 830,000 - a 60 % increase on current numbers,’ said Sir Andrew.

‘We believe it is important that these issues are discussed as they have enormous implications, not only for our schools at a time of severe financial constraint, but also, if the present scale of immigration is allowed to continue, for the very nature of our society. Once again the case for major reductions in immigration to the UK is powerfully made.’

‘It is astonishing that this situation has been allowed to develop without discussion and without regard to the views of the vast majority of people of this country,’ he said.



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