Children in Bradford who speak English as a second language are lagging behind their classmates in Year 1 reading tests, figures show.

Education charity the Education Endowment Foundation says that tackling schools with similar groups of pupils achieving very different results is one of the "biggest challenges" the education system faces.

Each year, pupils are given a phonics screening check – an assessment of whether they can understand the relationship between the sounds of spoken language and how words are spelled.

Of the 2,782 Year 1 children in Bradford whose first language is not English, 79.2% passed the test in 2019.

Meanwhile, the 4,933 children with English as a mother tongue had a pass rate of 82.3%.

The test consists of a list of 40 words, half real words and half non-words, which Year 1 children read to a teacher. It helps identify children who need extra help, so they are given support by their school to improve their reading skills.

Overall, Bradford had an 80.9% pass rate in the exam.

Across England, the average pass rate was 82.2%, but varied significantly.

In Richmond, which had the highest pass rate, 87.1% of children passed the test. At the other end of the scale, Peterborough performed worst with just 77.1% of children passing the exam.

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation said: "At all stages of the education system, we see schools with similar groups of pupils achieve very different results.

"We know that children whose first language is not English perform, on average, at a similar level to native speakers in school.

"However, to support children with English as an additional language to succeed, in particular those groups of language speakers who are at risk of under-achieving, schools may need to emphasise the importance of spoken language and class discussion.

"They may also need to consider providing a range of additional support at different stages, including targeted intervention such as small group or one-to-one support for struggling children."

The figures also showed that in Bradford, BAME children had an average pass rate of 82.8%, above the 79.7% for their classmates.

Across England, more girls passed the test than boys – this was also true in Bradford, where 84.7% of girls passed, compared to 76.9% of boys.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We want every child to reach their potential, and this means ensuring all children can read fluently upon leaving primary school, irrespective of background.

“Reading and writing are the foundations of any broad and balanced curriculum. Our increased focus on phonics means more children are being equipped with these basic building blocks at the earliest stage.

“We’ve invested £26.3 million in a national network of English hubs to spread best practice in the teaching of reading”