THE number of Bolton primary school pupils who struggle to speak English rose by more than 10 per cent in 12 months, new figures show.

The figure increased by 387 pupils from 3,454 in October 2012 to 3,841 in October 2013 - an 11.2 per cent rise.

Each of those children - who speak English as an additional language (EAL) - receive an additional £250 to help them develop their language and education chiefs insist good work is being done in Bolton’s primary schools to support the children.

The total number of primary school children rose by just three per cent from 24,249 to 25,028.

The number of children who started primary school in September 2013 in Bolton was 3,900 of which 981 - a quarter or 25 per cent - were EAL children.

The rise in in secondary schools was nearly 18 per cent - with the number of EAL pupils increasing by from 414 to 488.

This was despite a slight drop in Bolton's secondary school population, from 16,683 to 16,413.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “All Bolton schools receive an allocation of funding based on the percentage of their pupils that have English as an additional language.

“This helps schools to provide the extra support that is required.”

According to the last census the most common non-English languages in Bolton are Gujarati, Urdu, Panjabi and Polish.

It also showed there were small but significant numbers of Kurdish, Persian/Farsi, Arabic, Somali and Chinese language speakers.

Bolton Council has a Achievement Cohesion and Integration Service (ACIS), which supports families who are new to the country and have EAL needs.

Families can attend the Starting Point International Family Centre until a school place is available and the ACIS helps pupils develop their English language and literacy skills.

According to education experts many children from “EAL” backgrounds go on to become some of the highest achieving children.

Some youngsters with English as an additional language are new arrivals to England, while others will have remained at home.