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Language Landscapes


One of the aims of this project is to collect demographic information across four deaf education Local Authority services documenting the language and ethnicity information about the caseload and the wider educational context.

The aim of this is to grow our national knowledge of the language diversity and plurality of deaf children and the educational settings in which they are placed.

To do this we have used a combination of Government Census, CRIDE and case load data and, through working in collaboration with heads of service and teachers, we have developed a methodology and some initial demographic profiles.


Building a language landscape

1. Using Census Data

The Government Census data is very detailed and extensive. We used the 2011 census data collated by the different Local Authorities (which can be found on council websites) to gather the following:

  • Population overview
  • Size of population
  • Comparison to other Local Authorities
  • Breakdown of population by gender and age groups and any significant differences between gender or age groups.
  • Nationalities - changes since the last census
  • Ethnicity - significant changes since the last census
  • Dominant Languages used by residents - significant changes since the last census

detailed description of the different nationalities within a population

detailed description of the ethnicities within a population

Household languages
detailed description of the number of languages used within a population and how proficient residents are at using English

2. Using Local Data

To collect information on Service for Deaf Children population we used the local CRIDE survey  and local service caseload data to provide:

  • Numbers on the caseload
  • Age ranges (as numbers and a percentage)
  • Level of deafness (as numbers and a percentage)
  • Numbers of children with cochlear implants
  • Number of children from the local area in resourced provisions and /or Schools for the Deaf

Ethnicity and Nationality
We used service caseload data to describe Nationalities and Ethnicity to supplement the CRIDE information (although not all services record Nationality).

Languages used
We also used service caseload data to describe the number of languages used within the service, including any sign languages. This data is often incomplete and so we also tried to record the number of families where there is no dominant or preferred language documented and collect additional details on families who say that they use more than one language at home.


Example Language Landscapes

We have collected language landscape data so far on Leeds, Bradford, York and Northumberland services and we have more in development. If you would like to use the methodology suggested to draw up the language demographics of your school or service please get in touch with us. We will continue to add these sketches to the website to develop a picture of language diversity and plurality in the UK.

We have provided a short synopsis of the language landscapes that we have so far below from Leeds, Bradford, Northumberland and York.


1. City Council Demographics

Population overview
The population of Leeds is 751,485. In terms of population size Leeds is the 2nd biggest LA outside of London and Birmingham. The city is becoming increasingly diverse with the BME population now accounting for 18.9% of the resident population. The Pakistani community is the biggest “single” BME group in the city. Immigration is a big driver in Leeds: The number of people not born in the UK is now 86,100 with more than half arriving in the last 10 years. Poland showed the largest increase for those born outside the UK from 830 in 2001 to 7,139 in 2011, followed by India (an increase of 2,961) and Pakistan (an increase of 2,753).

88.5% of the population in Leeds were born in the UK. The number of residents born outside of the UK has increased from 47,636 (6.7% of the population) in 2001 to 86,144 (11.5%) in 2011. Of the 86,144 people born outside the UK, more than half (49,340 people) arrived in the last 10 years.
83.7% of Leeds’ people hold at least one passport, and 77.5% hold a UK passport. Just over 52,300 people hold a non-UK passport, and of these 23,444 were EU passports (other than UK) and 28,917 are other foreign passports. There are 5,738 people with dual or multiple nationalities. Polish was the highest ranking foreign nationality.

Top 10 non-UK nationalities in Leeds

85.1% of the population of Leeds gave their ethnic origin as "White"(slightly lower than the England and Wales rate of 86%), with 81.1% classified as "White British", 0.9% as "White Irish", 0.1% as “White Gypsy or Irish Traveller” and 2.9% as "White Other".The "non-white population" in Leeds has increased from 8.2% in 2001 to 14.9% in 2011. This combined with the figures for "White Irish”, “White Gypsy or Irish Traveller” and "White Other" gives a total Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) population for the city of 18.9% (compared to 10.8% in 2001).

Household languages
91.8% of households in Leeds spoke English as a main language and in a further 3% of households at least one adult spoke English as a main language. In 4.5% of households there were no residents who spoke English as a main language

A question on main language and proficiency in speaking English was asked for the first time in the 2011 Census. Those that selected the option for another language were asked a follow-up question on proficiency of English spoken. Just over 51,000 people (7.1%) reported a main language that was not English. At least 85 different languages are spoken by people in Leeds as their main language. Polish was the most popular 'Other' main language with 6,717people reporting this as their main language, this was followed by Urdu (4,989 people) and Panjabi (4,537 people). 9,553 people in Leeds said that they could not speak English well and a further 1,805 people said they could not speak English at all

2. Service caseload demographics

The case load of the Leeds Service for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children is 784 (March 2015). There are 12 pupils in secondary resourced provision, included 3 out of authority. 6 children attend the resourced nursery. There are currently only 3 primary aged children in the new resourced provision. This is because the previous primary provision closed last year. Some children went to other schools that support clusters of deaf pupils; others moved to out of authority places. If these pupils were counted together, it would make 13 children who are eligible to be in the primary resource.
All other pupils attend their local mainstream school and are supported by the peripatetic team.

Ethnicity and Nationality
A breakdown of the ethnic groups within the deaf and hearing impaired caseload indicates that 60.3% of the children are English, 13.6 % are of Asian origin, the majority of that group are Pakistani (6.8%). 3.3% are either black African or black Caribbean. The caseload includes 2.5% of Eastern European Children of which 0.7% are from Roma families. 2.5% of children come from families with mixed ethnic origins, mainly white/Asian or White /black Caribbean.

The number of families who describe themselves as English seems to be is much smaller than the overall population. However, the census divides the population into ‘white’ and ‘non white’. The recorded BME population of the caseload is 19.5%, if the Eastern European families are included which is in fact very close to the percentage for Leeds district. However, the ethnicity of a significantly large percentage of families is unknown to the Service, approximately 13.5%. A small percentage of the caseload (1.1%) comes from various countries in Western Europe.

Nationality is not recorded separately by the service.

Languages used
Within the Leeds service caseload there are 38 different languages recorded. Families were asked for the language they used at home and were asked for one language only. Therefore, where there are several languages used at home, this is not recorded by the service. There are 42 families (about 4%) where the language used is not recorded. These families are mainly recorded as having Pakistani ethnicity, several are Eastern European and the ethnicity of the others is unknown.

The majority of families, 71%, said they use English at home. 7.5% used a range of Asian languages; the majority language was Urdu. The preferred languages of 3% of families were Eastern European, mainly Polish and Czech. This reflects the general demographic trend across Leeds where the largest group of eastern European migrants is Polish. A very small percentage (0.1% ) used African languages and a similar number spoke Middle Eastern languages. Portuguese and Italian are used by just two families. 24 families reported that their main language was British Sign Language. This equates to 2.4% of the caseload.

The ability to speak English is recorded, 6.2% of families reported that they did not speak English fluently but the level of English fluency is not recorded for 22% of families. The proportion of the population that were recorded as saying that they did not speak English is therefore similar to the overall population. However, it is not clear if the level of English fluency relates to one family member (the person who was asked) or the whole household.

The caseload has a proportionately large percentage of children who are profoundly deaf, almost a fifth of the caseload, 19.8%. A much smaller percentage are described as severely deaf, 8.5%.The proportion of children with moderate and mild hearing losses are similar to the overall population, 30% and 42% respectively.


1. Metropolitan District Council Demographics

Population overview
Bradford has a large and rapidly growing population of just over half a million (524,600). Bradford District is the fourth largest metropolitan district in England after Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield.

The District is ethnically diverse, with over 85 languages spoken. 64% of the population are of White British origin and 20% have a Pakistani heritage -the highest in England.The diversity of the city is changing, White British as a proportion of the total remains the largest single ethnic group in the District, accounting for 63.9% of the population. Representing 20.4% of the population, the Pakistan ethnic group is biggest BME group and is the second largest ethnic group in the area. Bradford has the highest proportion of people with a Pakistani heritage in England.

Most arrivals come from Pakistan. In the year to March 2012, there were 1,580 registrations issued to Pakistani nationals. This was nearly double that for the next largest group of new arrivals, 860 for people from Poland. Trends have changed over recent years. In 2007, the largest number of registrations was to Polish nationals, and over the past few years there has been a significant fall in the number of registrations issued to Slovak nationals.

Over 60% of people with a Pakistani heritage were born in the UK, probably as second or third generations. More than 50% of the Indian and Bangladeshi population were born in the UK. 45.7% of non-UK born residents in the Bradford District arrived between 2001 and 2011, and of these 32,290, nearly 8 out of 10, have arrived since 2004. Foreign born residents who arrived prior to 2001 have decreased as a proportion of the total. 1.8% of the population have been residents in the UK for less than 2 years, the same as the average for England, but lower than the average for West Yorkshire and Yorkshire and Humber (1.3%).

Together, the White British and Pakistani ethnic groups make up 84.3% of the District’s population. The Pakistani population, as a proportion of the total population, has increased by 6% (38,600) and the White British as a proportion of the total is reducing. The remaining 15.7% of the population is made up from a variety of other smaller ethnic groups which in total have seen an increase of 6% since 2001. These groups include Bangladeshi, Mixed multiple ethnic groups, other Asian, Black/African/Caribbean/Black British and Other ethnic groups. Since the 2011 census, the population of families arriving from Central and Eastern Europe has increased.

Household Languages
According to the 2011 Census, more than 85 languages are spoken in the District.
In 83.1% of households, all residents over 16 spoke English as a main language. In 8.4% of the District’s households at least one adult spoke English as a main language and in 1.5% of households no adults but at least one child spoke English as a main language. In the remaining 7.1% of households there were no residents who had English as a main language.

English is the main language in 83% of Bradford households. 95.1% of individuals either have English as their main language or speak it well or very well. Only 0.9% do not speak English at all. 9.5% of the population have a South Asian language as their main language - mainly Punjabi or Urdu and 2.6% another European language.

37.17% of pupils in Bradford have a first language which not English, 43.49% are in primary schools, 29.69% are in secondary schools.

2. Service Caseload demographics

Deaf Children in Bradford reflect the diverse ethnic mix. The caseload of the Service for Deaf Children in Bradford was 678 (March 2014). The last CRIDE survey identified the following language groups:

Spoken English 296
British Sign Language 1
Other sign language 0
Other spoken language 40
Spoken English together with sign language 11
Spoken English and other spoken language 258
Other spoken language together with sign language 67
Not known 0

The table does not reflect the number of language spoken in homes nor the quality or amount of each language used. Language competency is difficult to measure in many Bradford household who have deaf children. The fact that most Bradford families have English as a first language or speak it well is reflected in the above table. Few families use BSL only and most families that do use sign language will do so with voice or as two distinct languages.

Projections: more children
Bradford is the youngest English city outside London. Nearly a quarter of the population is aged under 16 (23.5%). Over the next ten years the number of under 16 year olds is predicted to increase by 13,200 – an increase of 10.7%. The numbers of children with SEND is predicted to rise by 25% over the next five years. This means that proportionally, the number of deaf children within the population is also predicted to increase.

The Service currently supports 777 deaf children on its caseload (April 2015).
There are 88 children in resourced provision, 360 are on the active caseload, 329 are described as school request which means they have light touch support. Therefore, the majority of children are supported by the peripatetic team in local mainstream schools and settings.

29% of the caseload have mild hearing losses, 29.5% are moderately deaf, 7.5% are severely deaf and 10.9% have a profound hearing loss. Additionally, 17% have unilateral hearing losses and 4.55% unknown. These percentages are reflected across the age range.43 children have cochlear implants, most are bilateral fittings.

There has been a steady decrease in the numbers of children in resourced provisions since 2008 and it is expected that this trend will continue because of changes in technology and parental preference. Changes to SEN provision and funding cuts have also had an impact, children younger than 4 years old are not offered transport. However, there is a significant increase in the numbers of profoundly and severely deaf children in mainstream settings since 2008. Therefore in terms of forward planning the trend seems to reflect consistent numbers of deaf children in the local authority, but spread across more settings.

There are also a greater numbers of deaf children going into the Authority’s special schools. This is because more children are surviving at birth, meaning that more children with complex needs at birth and deafness are appearing on the caseload.

The ‘Born in Bradford’ statistics show an increase in first cousin marriage. The study demonstrates a relationship between this and the increase in genetically related difficulties, including deafness.

Deaf children who arrive from Eastern and Central European communities tend to arrive as older children and will enter year groups from Reception and above. The transient nature of many families, particularly from the Roma community means that families may stay for two or three years and then move on.

Ethnicity of Families with Deaf Children
46% of families with deaf children are of South Asian origin, the majority (42%) are from Pakistan and mainly from the area around Mirapur. 5.2% are from Eastern Europe, the largest group is from Slovakia, with significant numbers from Poland and Czechoslovakia. The numbers of families from other parts of Europe and Asia is extremely small, no more than 1%.

The percentage of families of deaf children with Pakistani ethnic origins is far greater than the percentage across the Bradford district generally, more than double. The 2011 census showed that the population from east and central Europe was increasing, but at that time was only about 2.5% of the population. In April 2015, the numbers of deaf children from these areas is now 5.2%, but is it likely that this more closely reflects the current population across Bradford.

Household Languages in families with Deaf Children
The majority of families with deaf children stated that their home language was English - 68%. Although there are 46% of families with a Pakistani ethnic origin, only 16% said that a south Asian language was their home language. Another 9% said they used a combination of English and a South Asian language, often stating that either father or mother could not speak English.

The Central and Eastern European families mainly reported that the home language was the same one as their ethnic origin, 4.8% felt that English was not the language used at home. Only one family said that they used Roma. BSL was used by 12 families, mainly with another spoken language; 2 families said it was their only language.

Other languages accounted for less than 0.8% of languages used at home.

However, 25% of families found it difficult to identify a home language and this section of the data was left blank. Many of these families were of Pakistani ethnic origin and it may suggest that there is now no longer a ‘dominant’ language used in the home and that there are now two or more languages used across the household.


1. Northumberland Demographics

Northumberland is a large, rural county in the north of England and has a border with Scotland and a coastline. It has a number of small towns, fishing villages and a border town which is also a port. There are no major cities or densely populated urban areas. The 2011 census recorded the population of Northumberland as 316,028.

Population overview
The population of Northumberland increased by 2.9% to 316,028 between 2001 and 2011 and it is the second largest population in the North East. The proportion of people aged 65 and over rose by 2% to 20% of the resident population. There was a decrease in the number of people aged 30 – 44. There was little change in ethnic diversity in Northumberland. The white ethnic group made up 98.4% of the population in 2011 a decrease of less than 1% point from 2001. Most Northumberland residents (92.8%) were born in England. There was little change from 2001. Northumberland has a higher proportion of 65+ (21.8%) than the rest of the North East and a smaller proportion of those aged 0 to 15 years (16.8%) Only 4.5 % are aged between 16 to19 years.

The majority of residents in Northumberland were born in England (293,366 - 92.8%). There has been little change (an increase of 6,800 residents which is a percentage point decrease of 0.5%) in this figure since the 2001 census. This contrasts with the population in the North East and England which have both seen larger decreases in the number of people born in England (down 1.8% points and 3.9% points respectively).

Residents born in Scotland are the next largest group of residents in Northumberland, making up 3.6% of the population. This has changed little since 2001 (down 0.1% points). There was also little change in the proportion of residents born in other UK or European countries and no specific country made up more than 1% of the total population.

There is growing ethnic diversity across England, this is not the case in Northumberland. 98.4% of the population in Northumberland describe themselves as white as compared to 95.3% in the north East and 85.4% in England. Of the 1.6% who describe themselves as non-white, the greatest number were Asian or British Asian (0.7%) compared to the rest of the North East which has a population of 2.9% Asian or British Asian. In 2001, 99.05% of the population of Northumberland described themselves as White.

O.6% of the population is from the European Union, which is a reduction in number since 2001. Almost 50% of this group is Polish ( 597people ) which is more than in 2001, but this reflects changes in migration pattern across EU countries.

Ethnic groups in Northumberland (2011):

White - 98.4%
Mixed - 0.5%
Asian or Asian British - 0.7%
Black or Black British - 0.1%
Other - 0.2%

Household languages
The vast majority of people in Northumberland speak English as a first language, 99% of the population. Although there are 26 European languages spoken within the county, this amounts to only 0.6 of the population and the dominant language within this group is Polish. There are at least 17 Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages used, but again as a percentage of the population this is very small, about 0.2%. 0.16% of people speak an East Asian language, predominately Chinese. There are 77 sign language users, 42 reported that they use British Sign Language as their main language.

2. Service Caseload Demographics

The Sensory Service (Hearing Impaired) in Northumberland supports 210 children and 172 are on the active caseload. The children are scattered across the mainly rural county and as a result, there are no resourced provisions for deaf children. 5 children are educated in resource provisions out of the authority. The Service has 13 children who have cochlear implants.

Of the total that belongs to the Local Authority, 25 children are in preschool, 90 are primary age, 78 are secondary age and 10 are post 16.

There are 45 children with unilateral hearing loss, 49 who have mild hearing loss, 67 who are moderately deaf, 19 severely deaf and 26 who are profoundly deaf.

Ethnicity and Nationality
The majority of families on the caseload and attending schools in the area describe themselves as of White British origin, five families originated from Poland, three other families are of South Asian origin and one family is of mixed ethnicity.
The percentage of families not originating from Britain is 0.4% which reflects the same small percentage as is found in the general population of Northumberland.

Household languages
The majority of families of deaf children in Northumberland speak English as a first language and only five families are recorded as having English as a second language. The CRIDE survey 2014 notes that the Service is now seeing many youngsters entering school with age appropriate or near age appropriate English language.

The preferred language of families for whom English is not a first language is Polish. This is also the dominant language within the general European population in Northumberland. There are 3 children who use BSL as a first language, these pupils all come from Deaf families and one other pupil has some sign support. BSL can be supported in a mainstream school and the Service has a well-qualified BSL interpreter. Other BSL users go to resource provisions out of authority.

Additionally there are three families who are of south Asian origin who indicate that their home language is English. One other family of mixed ethnicity also recorded that English was the home language. This trend fits with the overall population of Northumberland where 99% of families report that English is their first language but shows that a greater percentage of families who use English as an additional language who come from Eastern Europe rather than South Asia. However the numbers are very small, but more significant when part of a small caseload.