Minority language setback

21st June 1996 at 01:00
Around three in every four people from linguistic minorities in England and Wales do not have enough English to cope with everyday life, according to new research.

A team led by Professor Roy Carr-Hill, of London University's Institute of Education, tested 1,200 adults. Alan Wells, director of the Basic Skills Agency, which commissioned the report, said the study had been difficult as many people, especially refugees, feared surveys.

The native tongues of those tested were Bengali, Gujerati, Punjabi, Chinese, Serbo-Croat, Kurdish, Somali and Tamil. Twenty tasks, including filling in forms, tested functional literacy in English.

Only 5 per cent of the sample were judged able to go on to further training or study in English with confidence. However, there were major differences between groups, with 41 per cent of Chinese speakers reaching survival level compared with 14 per cent of Bengalis.

Only a fifth of those in the sample with five or more years of full-time education in this country failed to reach survival level, however.

Lost Opportunities: the language skills of linguistic minorities in England and Wales, summary, free from the BSA, Commonwealth House, 1-19 New Oxford Street,London WC1A 1NU. Main report, Pounds 6.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now