In the 2011 Census, 1.7% of the population in Grampian did not speak English well, and 0.3% did not speak English at all. For people born outside the UK (aged 3+), the figures were 9.4% and 2%, though English proficiency was higher among people who came to the UK at an earlier age. For example, nearly 80% of people who arrived before age 16 speak English ‘very well,’ while this was the case for only half of people who arrived after age 50. Figures for the whole of Scotland were broadly similar.
In 2020, there were 8,344 pupils across Grampian whose main home language was not English – this is a considerable increase from the 2017 figure of 7,157. For some, English was a secondary language at home, and among the 7,910 who had English as an Additional Language (EAL), 13% were new to English, a fifth were in the ‘early acquisition’ phase, nearly a third were ‘developing competence,’ a quarter were ‘competent,’ and 14% were fluent.
In Aberdeen City schools, pupils spoke 92 different home languages, in Aberdeenshire they spoke 59, and in Moray, 43. 165 languages are spoken by pupils in schools across Scotland. The main three home languages after English in Aberdeen City were Polish, Arabic and Russian; in Aberdeenshire they were Polish, Scots and Lithuanian; in Moray they were Scots, Polish and Portuguese. This has not changed since 2017.
Pupil Census Data: Pupil Census 2017 and 2020, Tables 5.8 and 5.9.