A recent report published by CILT (The National Centre for Languages) has confirmed that bilingual pupils achieve better exam results than monolinguals. The report, “Positively Plurilingual” showed that Portuguese children at secondary schools in London, who continued to study their native language, were five times more likely to achieve five top A* to C grade passes at GCSE than those that did not. The study also found that 11-year-olds in Hackney (a borough of London), who spoke more than one language at home, outperformed those pupils who only spoke English.
But how many children are bilingual in the UK? The CILT report estimated that more than 850,000 children – more than one in eight – spoke a language other than English at home. The report concludes that the linguistic map of the UK is changing with the number of languages in use growing and spreading across the UK.The report, with an introduction by CILT’s patron, Sir Trevor McDonald, highlights that too many schools are missing out on the opportunity to ensure that bilingual students continue to develop their language skills (other than English). McDonald continues “Rather than thinking in terms of an “English-only” culture, we should be promoting “English-plus”. The advantages of bilingualism are clear from the findings of the CILT research. In addition, the report cites research carried out in Canada, by York University, which showed that bilingual people were better at multitasking than those who only spoke one language. The research indicated that bilinguals regularly exercise the part of their brain known as the pre-frontal cortex which reinforces attention span.
To read the report in full, please click here to download.