Children and languageThere’s been a lot of debate recently about language learning in schools in the UK. The government has shifted the focus of language teaching to primary schools, with high school students not required to learn a second language at GCSE level.

Interestingly, it seems that teaching a second non-English language may not be the only issue for the government. Surveys have revealed that in some parts of the country, pupils are attending school with little or no English.

A Government study found last year that some 240 different languages are spoken by schoolchildren in the home across Britain as a whole, with one-in-seven primary school pupils not speaking English as a first language across the UK.

There are 10 schools in the UK where no child speaks English as a first language, the figures show.

Staff and pupils at Fairlight Primary School in Brighton resorted to learning sign language to communicate, with children speaking 26 different languages at home in 2008. (Source: Telegraph)

A survey in Reading, England, has found that 150 languages and dialects are spoken by pupils in its area, including the Indian language of Telugu and the Ghanaian dialect of Akan. This incredible diversity is making it difficult to provide for all pupils. I wonder if, rather than seeing it as a negative thing, their knowledge could be used to help others – child to child language exchange perhaps?