An educational landmark has just been passed that has rather striking implications for our school system. Over the weekend, reports confirmed that pupils who speak English as an additional language (EAL) – that is, not their first – are now outperforming their native, English-speaking counterparts for the first time.
Government data, based only on results in England,shows that 80.8 per cent of EAL pupils achieved five A*-C GCSEs last year. That compares with 80.4 per cent of pupils for whom English is a mother tongue. Native English speakers are still just ahead on the five A*-C GCSEs if Maths and English are included – but EAL pupils have closed the gap since 2008, and will probably overtake them in the next couple of years.