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CentrePiece article

In brief: Language barriers? The impact of non-native English speakers in the classroom


In recent years there has been an increase in the number of children going to school in England who do not speak English as a first language. We investigate whether this has an impact on the educational outcomes of native English speakers at the end of primary school. We show that the negative correlation observed in the raw data is mainly an artefact of selection: non-native speakers are more likely to attend school with disadvantaged native speakers. We attempt to identify a causal impact of changes in the percentage of non-native speakers within the year group. In general, our results suggest zero effect and rule out negative effects.


Charlotte Geay, Sandra McNally and Shqiponja Telhaj

21 May 2012     Paper Number CEPCP368

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This CentrePiece article is published under the centre's Education and skills programme.