Pupils with English as their first language are now in the minority in more than one in four Birmingham schools, new figures have revealed.
Department for Education figures showed a majority of students at 117 of the city’s 430 schools listed a different language as their mother tongue.
The figures emerged as the new head of school inspection body Ofsted visited Birmingham to insist that language barriers were no excuse for under-achievement.
Sir Michael Wilshaw said: “As long as you intervene, have language classes and lots of intensive support classes going on, then you can crack that one.
“It is attitude towards education that is important. A lot of these children are born here, they are bilingual, so we should not see it as a barrier to success.
“As chief inspector, I say that it is not a an excuse for not achieving. Attitudes towards learning are more problematic.”
Sir Michael’s comments came during a visit to Parkview Business and Enterprise College in Alum Rock.
It was the first school in the country rated “outstanding” after tough new inspection measures were introduced in January.
He said schools such as Parkview and St Alban’s Academy in Highgate, where a majority of students speak English as a second language, showed the issue was “no barrier to learning”.
Sir Michael met Parkview headteacher Lindsey Clark and chair of governors Tahir Alam for a tour of the school, where 72 per cent of students achieved five or more *A to C grades, including maths and English, in last year’s GCSEs.
He said: “Parkview is doing fantastically. Walking around the school and talking to children, they all appreciate being here.
"The students are so ambitious for themselves and that is so heartening, and it enforces my view that schools make a difference.”