HOW much should we read into the fact that 44 per cent of Bradford’s 16-year-olds failed to achieve a pass mark in their English and Maths examinations?

After all, the result mirrors the national picture which saw a fall in pass rates among youngsters sitting revamped GCSE examinations.

For candidates of all ages across the UK, the grade 4 pass rate was 59.8 per cent for maths and 62 per cent in English.

So Bradford is lagging behind the national average.

However, the broad figures obscure a more complicated picture in our city.

Almost 140 different languages are the mother tongues of children at primary schools in the Bradford district with 43 per cent of pupils speaking English as a second language.

And more than a third of children whose first language is not English speak dialects of Panjabi with Urdu, Bengali and Hindko.

There are also significant numbers of pupils speaking Eastern and Northern European languages such as Slovak, Polish, Latvian and Russian as well as other Asian languages including Chinese, Burmese and Filipino.

On the face of it this looks like a mountain for our teachers to climb – but perhaps it is also a unique opportunity.

Many of these children will have exceptional linguistic skills with the ability to switch seamlessly between languages.

Things are getting better – the pass rate has gone up from 46.6 per cent in 2014 to 56.2 per cent this year – but if this were a report it would conclude: “Must do better.”