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Non‐native Speakers of English in the Classroom: What Are the Effects on Pupil Performance?


  • Charlotte Geay
  • Sandra McNally
  • Shqiponja Telhaj


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.
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  • Charlotte Geay & Sandra McNally & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2013. "Non‐native Speakers of English in the Classroom: What Are the Effects on Pupil Performance?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 281-307, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v::y:2013:i::p:f281-f307

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christian Dustmann & Stephen Machin & Uta Schoenberg, 2008. "Educational Achievement and Ethnicity in Compulsory Schooling," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0812, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2013. "Under Pressure? The Effect of Peers on Outcomes of Young Adults," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 119-153.
    3. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Caroline Halls, 2010. "Assessing the Fiscal Costs and Benefits of A8 Migration to the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 1-41, March.
    4. Asako Ohinata & Jan C. van Ours, 2013. "How Immigrant Children Affect the Academic Achievement of Native Dutch Children," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 308-331, August.
    5. DavidG. Blanchflower & Chris Shadforth, 2009. "Fear, Unemployment and Migration," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(535), pages 136-182, February.
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    7. Eric D. Gould & Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman, 2009. "Does Immigration Affect the Long-Term Educational Outcomes of Natives? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(540), pages 1243-1269, October.
    8. Steve Gibbons & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2008. "Peers and Achievement in England's Secondary Schools," SERC Discussion Papers 0001, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    9. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht, 2011. "Migration and Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    10. Brian Bell & Francesco Fasani & Stephen Machin, 2013. "Crime and Immigration: Evidence from Large Immigrant Waves," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1278-1290, October.
    11. Betts, Julian, 1998. "Educational Crowding Out: Do Immigrants Affect the Educational Attainment of American Minorities?," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt8vt7f1bh, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination


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