ALMOST half of school pupils in Bradford are not studying a modern language at GCSE level.

A new study shows the average number of language GCSEs taken per pupil is just 0.45 in the district.

And Bradford Council's education lead has warned big companies looking for people with language skills may look elsewhere.

Councillor Ralph Berry said young people "must be equipped with the skills needed to be part of the wider world".

"We haven't fully tapped into the benefits of bi-lingualism in Bradford," he said.

Local MPs have also spotlighted the importance of languages in schools, with one warning against the 'complacency of thinking everyone speaks English'.

The study also showed that in science, the Bradford average is 1.44 GCSEs per pupil.

Additionally, more than ten per cent of the city's mainstream-funded schools do not offer a crucial science marker.

In 28 schools, no children are entered for the 'triple science' option of physics, chemistry and biology - regarded as a vital route to many careers.

But this figure is better than many other areas. In some places, more than a third of schools fail to offer the option.

Bradford's performance is mid-table in the areas highlighted in the report.

The 2013 data released yesterday, also showed Bradford was in the second most deprived group of authorities, with 37 per cent of pupils receiving free school meals.

The figures show that only 42.8 per cent of Bradford pupils are taking a language GCSE; 23 per cent take three science exams and 70 per cent take at least one science exam.

Across the UK, the research by the Open Public Services Network shows a child's chance of taking subjects vital to future prospects depends heavily on where they live.

The study warns teenagers could miss out on the chance to go to university and on to a good job due to limited exam options.

Alex Kafetz, a director of the research team, said the figure of 89 per cent of Bradford schools offering the triple option was "pretty good".

"Especially when you consider Bradford's deprivation status," he said.

"Head teachers should now think what they might do with these figures, particularly with regard to recruitment."

At a recent event held by the National Union of Teachers in Bradford, politicians discussed the importance of language in schools.

Bradford East MP David Ward (Lib Dem) said: "It is important not just to improve your employment chances, but also to fulfil the lives of young people."

Shipley MP Philip Davies (Con) said knowing extra languages was a 'massive advantage'.

"For far too long in the UK we've been complacent, thinking everyone else can speak English," he said.

"Things have changed, it used to be that everyone learned French, now it might be that learning Mandarin or Cantonese is more beneficial."