Almost 29 per cent of 15-year-olds in Britain now come from an immigrant background, new data from an international think tank reveals today.
The figure is higher than the EU average of 21 per cent but similar to both France, at 26 per cent, and Germany, at 28 per cent. The figure is higher in Ireland and Belgium.
It includes second generation immigrants, natives of mixed heritage, first generation immigrants and people returning after being born abroad.
The study, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), also shows immigrant children who arrive in the UK aged 12 or older are less likely to do well at school and to feel like they belong, according to a study.
The findings come amid a fresh Government push to encourage social integration in England’s schools and communities.
The study is based on an analysis of the OECD’s 2015 PISA tests which are taken by 15-year-olds across 35 nations and economies.
Compared with PISA tests taken in 2003, the percentage of immigrant students in the UK rose by nine percentage points, compared with an OECD average of around six percentage points and an EU average of around seven percentage points.
The study splits immigrant children into four categories: first generation – foreign-born children of foreign-born parents; second generation – UK-born children of foreign-born parents; native students of mixed heritage – those born in the UK, with one UK and one foreign-born parent; and returning foreign-born children – those born abroad to UK parents.
The findings show that in 2015, 73 per cent of UK-born students of UK-born parents reached a ‘baseline level’ of achievement in the 2015 PISA tests, which cover reading, maths and science, compared with 67 per cent of all immigrant children.
But a country note on the UK also says: ‘In the United Kingdom, there is a considerably large penalty associated with late arrival of first-generation immigrant students.’
It also says that while those who arrived in the country before the age of 12 were as likely as native students to achieve baseline levels of academic achievement, those who arrived when they were aged 12 or older were 27 percentage points less likely than native students to achieve this level.