600-Strong Lobby Tells the Government to Fund ESOL and Adult Education!

Esol Lobby - Committee room 10 packed 2-1000623

A big thank you to all for a great ESOL and Adult Education Parliamentary lobby yesterday, hosted by UCU London Region and Action for ESOL. 600 students, teachers and community representatives came from Greenwich Community College, ELATT (East London Advanced Technology Training), Barnet & Southgate, Ealing, Hammersmith, Lambeth, Hackney, Leeds, Brent, Tower Hamlets, Morley, Westminster Kingsway and City & Islington Colleges/ ESOl providers. It was a fantastic day. There was such a long queue outside waiting to get in that an impromptu march up up to BIS for a demo outside their offices also took place!

  • The students were amazing, passionate, determined and not just demanding ESOL but a right to be here – to have “dignity”, as Rosa, a student from Hackney College, said.
  • Mohammed, a student from Tower Hamlets, said he wanted “to speak English, I don’t want interpreter”.
  • Nathaniel, ex-Lambeth College student and from the Eritrean Community Centre, spoke about the rights that ESOL learners wanted very eloquently, that ESOL is not just about language but about having rights to many other aspects of life.
  • Jasmina from the Women’s Refugee Association spoke about why ESOL is important for women and for their families as a whole.
  • From UCU London Region, Sean Vernell spoke about how immigration has been integral to Britain, and the fight for ESOL is about the fight for Adult Education as a whole.

Full list of speakers:Women listening to speakers -1000615

Sean Vernell – UCU London Region
Jasmina Dimitrijevic – Refugee Womens Asociation
Rupa Huq MP – Ealing Central & Acton
Sue Pember – HOLEX
Chai Patel – Migrants Rights Network
Dr Liz Lawrence – UCU President
Maritza & Maria – Entry 1 ESOL students from Morley College
Gerry McDonald – Principal Tower Hamlets College
Steve Mulligan – NIACE
Nathaniel Ghilazghi – Eritrean Community Centre Camberwell + former Lambeth College ESOL student
Mohammed Sharif Mahmoud – ESOL student from Tower Hamlets College
Jenny Rodin – NATECLA
Shakira Martin – National Union of Students VP FE
Rosa Delgado Pinoe – ESOL student from Hackney College
Ian Ashman – Principal Hackney College

also present at the lobby, and meeting constituents outside the committee room:

Matthew Pennycook MP – Greenwich and Woolwich
Richard Burgon MP – Leeds
Andy Slaughter MP – Hammersmith

Once again the students, by coming in numbers, put ESOL and FE into the news!

Press links:

Many of the MPs who said they would come were called away to be at Prime Ministers Question Time and the vote on George Osborne’s Fiscal Charter, which committed Government to make more cuts! List of Labour MPs who abstained from voting against the cuts.

Thanks to everyone who supported the lobby and came on the day.

Liz, Mandy and MP-1000626

Now come to the next Action for ESOL meeting on Monday 9th November, 6.30pm, Morley College, to talk about what we do next.

Adult Education & ESOL Lobby of Parliament – Latest speaker line-up and press info!


Update re the Adult Education and ESOL Parliamentary Lobby – this Wednesday 14th October 12 noon start, finishing at 3pm.

Latest line up of confirmed speakers and attendees:

    • Liz Lawrence – UCU President
    • Diane Abbott Shadow Secretary for International Development
    • John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor
    • Nathaniel Ghilazghi – Ethiopian Community Centre, Camberwell and ex Lambeth college student
    • Chai Patel – Migrant Rights Network
    • Steve Mulligan – NIACE Assistant Director for Policy and Public Affairs
    • Gerry McDonald – Principal Tower Hamlets College
    • Andy Slaughter MP Hammersmith ( Lab)
    • Neil Coyle MP Bermondsey and Old Southwark ( Lab)
    • Jenny Roden from NATECLA
    • Kate Osamor Edmonton MP (Lab)
    • Shakira Martin NUS VP FE
    • Sue Pember (HOLEX)
    • Jasmina Dimitrijevic – Refugee Women’s Association
    • Mohammed Sharif Mahmoud – Tower Hamlets ESOL student
    • Ali Baceci – EHWLC ESOL student
    • Rosa Delgado Pinoe – Hackney ESOL student

 Flyer, map, materials, lobby times, green card info – all in our earlier post below.

Download the ESOL briefing document English for speakers of other languages produced by UCU Head Office which has been emailed to all MPs along with the ESOL manifesto. Hard copies of both documents will be available at the committee room on Wednesday at the start of the lobby.

Read and circulate the UCU press release and download the table of ESOL damage as a result of recent cuts from around the country.

Download the calendar of upcoming events Action for ESOL Calendar of events which Action for ESOL will be mobilising for and sending speakers/ delegations to, including the next action for ESOL meeting on 9/11/15 at Morley College.

Read :

Please circulate widely and see you on Wednesday!

All Out for the ESOL and Adult Education Parliamentary Lobby! Wednesday 14th October

Adult ed lobby with bankers banner-1040129The parliamentary lobby for Adult Education and ESOL is on Wednesday 14th October. Hosted by UCU London Region and Action for ESOL, speakers so far include Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP, UCU President Liz Lawrence, Dianne Abbott MP and ESOL students.

Action for ESOL needs you for their campaign to save ESOL in the UK. Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers will not have access to education as a results of the cuts in ESOL. Thousands of people are currently already on waiting lists, hundreds of teachers have lost their jobs. This is a slow destruction of adult education and is an attack on refugees’ and migrants’ rights.

On the Day

We will meet on the day at 12 noon in Parliament Square for photo shoot and to start going into parliament. Please bring your banners, placards, etc. We are not allowed to take banners inside parliament but there will be a contingent outside to keep a display of banners going while the lobby is taking place inside. The lobby is in committee room 10 from 1-3pm. We need students to come and tell their stories , ex-ESOL students are also welcome.  Students can speak together in small groups if they lack confidence.  Please just let the organisers know when you arrive on the day.

Students love it ! It’s a trip to the Houses of Parliament!! 
Here are some ideas that can be adapted to prepare them for the trip http://www.parliament.uk/education-resources/parliament-and-schools-pack.pdf
Once there they can green card their MP  http://www.parliament.uk/site-information/glossary/green-card/


Remember: You don’t need to stay for the whole time if your students need to go back to pick up their children or have other commitments. and you can bring younger ESOL learners  as well as adults.

What you can do now

 1. Students’ homework or classwork this week – write to your MP here asking them to meet you at the lobby on 14 October and saying why you don’t want ESOL courses to be cut.

2. Email Hannah Wray at hannahmgw@hotmail.com now to let us know how much money is being cut from the budget and how many jobs are being lost at your workplace. This will help to build up a nationwide picture of the impact of the cuts to add to our briefing documents for the lobby.

3. Set up a team to distribute the flyer  FreeESOLleaflet  around your college or workplace and ESOL department.

 4. Invite any local or national press contacts you know to the lobby.

5.  ’Like’ the  Action for ESOL Facebook page and invite everyone you know to our Facebook event for the lobby

6. Follow us on Twitter @ActionforESOL. Tag the following organisations to encourage them to come @skillsfunding @NIACEhq @bisgovuk and use the #loveESOL hashtag

7. Every Thursday at 9pm, join the online #ukfechat Twitter debate with hundreds of other ESOL teachers and raise awareness about the cuts in ESOL

Action for ESOL also supports the rally in Leicester called by Leicester Social Forum, supported by UCU, NUT, Leicester Civil Rights Movement and Leicester and District TUC. The rally is about defending post-16 education, but will have a specific focus on ESOL and has been timed for the same day as an Action for ESOL protest in London. You can download the flyer here LET US LEARN LEIC

We can make this work , we can make a difference , past campaigns have been successful , let’s make this one a success too!

Protest at BIS and lobby Parliament against ESOL cuts!

Action for ESOL have called a demonstration against the cuts to ESOL and JCP outside the BIS offices in London, 1 Victoria Street SW1H 0ET, on Wednesday 16th September at 5.30pm. See map

Download the flyer Action for ESOL demo A5 1pp and please bring delegations of staff and students along from your workplace.

Action for ESOL is also co-hosting a lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 14th October, assemble in front of parliament at 12 noon.

Photos from the National Day of Action on Wednesday 26th August, against cuts to ESOL and JCP courses that was announced over the summer, can be found here

Materials to use for making placards and banners: ,

HeSaidHeDid TheySaidTheyDidScreen Shot 2015-08-11 at 12.50.14

ESOL Classes for 16,000 to be cut – Statement by Action for ESOL and Migrants Rights Network

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 12.50.14We are dismayed at the latest announcement of massive cuts to ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision. On 21st July the Skills Funding Agency announced that ESOL courses which have been provided for students receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance will be cut with immediate effect.

This latest cut is on top of a 24% reduction to funding for Further Education this year, which has meant extensive losses to ESOL provision nationally. In addition, it has been announced that adult courses will be cut by a further 3.9%, which will be applied retrospectively to adult budgets set in March.

The government has not presented any viable alternative provision for students to learn English.

The recent announcement that colleges should provide ESOL classes without funding is ridiculous and unworkable, as is the suggestion that volunteers should fill the gap. If ESOL students are to make progress, they need a rigorous assessment and teaching programme and dedicated, qualified teachers.

Furthermore, the timing of this government decision presents an additional difficulty as it throws careful college planning and budgets into disarray because it has been announced at a point in the year when college managements have finalised timetables and courses for the forthcoming year.

Action for ESOL oppose this latest round of cuts, which will impact on students, teachers, children of our ESOL students and on society as a whole.

On 20th July David Cameron said: ‘At the moment we have parts of the country where opportunities remain limited … where language remains a real barrier, where too many women from minority communities remain trapped outside the workforce, and where educational attainment is low.’

Many colleges and providers have been offering English classes to individuals referred by the Job Centre whose level of English was assessed as below Entry 3, a level identified as not high enough to access employment. The government decision to implement further cuts runs counter to their stated aim to help individuals develop skills in order to gain jobs and communicate with others.

Students need English classes to access jobs, participate in society, support their children, our future generation, through the education system and prevent isolation. Students are now left with an uncertain future, without the means to communicate with other English speakers and without the hope that they can gain a good level of English and gain qualifications that will help them on their chosen career path. Many ESOL students also bring skills and qualifications from their own countries but need to improve their English in order to be able to use these in the UK. These skills and qualifications are of benefit to the whole country.

ESOL teachers have specialist qualifications and many have years of experience in the field. The loss of these teachers through cuts is damaging to all.

Action for ESOL supports the 38 degrees petition opposing these vicious, racist cuts. Action for ESOL are also calling for a Day of Action on the 26th August to show opposition to this sudden and devastating cut in funding.

Further reading:

Sam Shepherd’s blog post – “Cuts: The kind of post I don’t want to write.”


Love FE day - one world one people-1040151 All out to Join the Celebration of Lifelong Learning

UCU London Region has called a national demonstration on Saturday 25th April. Action for ESOL is supporting this call. We want to turn the day into “A festival of education” with ESOL teach outs, games, singing, food, theatre and more.

What you can do:

* Download the NEW flyer with amended route here : April 25 UCU Demo revised

* Organise a rota to leaflet your workplace every day to build the demo.

* Approach your management to support the demo.

Invite your MP to join the demo and send a letter asking them to sign the Early Day Motion

* Sign the petition and send it to your work colleagues and friends.

* If your College has not yet set up a campaign to save Adult Education and you want to start one, but are not sure how, contact us.

* Organise a coach to the demo from your region

Thanks for supporting the lobby, now join the demo this Wednesday 25 March at 6pm!

Adult ed lobby with bankers banner-1040129From UCU:

Save Lifelong Learning Campaign

Following the success of the London region lobby of parliament on Wednesday 18th March which several hundred staff and students attended, the campaign against the cuts continues to win widespread support.

ALL branches are called on to

* publicise the London Region demonstration on Wednesday 25th March at 6pm, details and downloadable flyer

* actively support ‘love FE day’ next Thursday 26 March which aims to celebrate lifelong learning and calls for a STOP to the potentially devastating proposed cuts to further education (FE). UCU and campaign partners ask you to mark the day by highlighting the importance of FE and what all of our communities stand to lose if these cuts go ahead.

• Encourage all members to sign and circulate the petition to stop the cuts (nearly 20,000 people have signed already)

• Ask members to take a photo with the UCU poster (or create your very own!) and please send to campaigns@ucu.org.uk and tweet using #loveFE

• Tell us why you Love FE – photos and messages will be displayed on the joint campaign website here.

• Make contact with your local general election candidates about the funding cuts using our online tool

• Already 40 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling to stop the cuts. Has YOUR MP signed yet?

• Download and circulate 10 Point Charter for FE to all members for the future of further and adult education and our briefing on the cuts.

• Please tweet using #loveFE tag and let us know about any other activities you have planned.

Thousands of members have written on the petition describing how adult education transforms and enriches our lives. These cuts could be a deathblow to FE and we need to build a groundswell of opposition to force the coalition, the devolved governments and whoever is in Westminster after 7 May, to think again.

Please support the London demonstration on Wednesday 25th March at 6pm and the ‘love FE day’ on Thursday 26 March.

Join the lobby of Parliament to Save Adult and Further Education!

More Cuts to Further and Adult Education

On 26th February, the govt proposed 24% cuts to the adult education budget in England . This will decimate Further and Adult provision, including ESOL, and has been called a “wilful act of vandalism” by the Union of University and College lecturers (UCU).

Sign the Petition

We are calling on all our supporters to circulate and sign the petition launched by UCU and campaign partners including National Union of Students (NUS), Trade Union Congress (TUC), 157 group, the Association of Colleges (AoC), UNISON, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and Unite, which has already collected nearly almost 15,000 signatures.

Join the Parliamentary Lobby – Wednesday 18th March at 1pm

UCU London region has organised a lobby of parliament on 18 March and a protest on 25 March. Download the flyer here: Don’t let them destroy life long learning flyer

We are calling on all ESOL teachers and students to email your local prospective parliamentary candidates using the UCU online tool and ask them to meet you at the Lobby of Parliament next Wednesday 18th March at 1pm.

On the day, there will be a mass picnic on the grass opposite Parliament, hosted by Tower Hamlets College. This will be followed by a photo shoot at 1pm sharp before we go in to Westminster together. Helpers will direct you. The visitors entrance is opposite Parliament square. See here for a map http://www.parliament.uk/visiting/access/directions/

How the lobby works: You will queue up from the visitors entrance and go through security. Then you are in the Palace of Westminster. You will naturally make your way through the building to the Octagon – a reception lobby just outside the Commons. There will be lots of us there by then to explain what to do. It’s easy. You can ’Green card’ your MP at the reception desk. A clerk will take your name and postcode and then go find your MP. Your MP will come and meet you to hear your concerns. You can give them notice you are coming atwww.faxyourmp.com - but this is not necessary, you can just turn up. If your MP is not available they will receive a record of your visit. In previous lobby’s people buddied up if there MPs were not available and had a chance to talk to other MPs and Ministers.

It is budget day so Parliament will be quite busy. After people have met MPs we have a Committee meeting room booked.

Here is a briefing you can use with some facts.

Don’t let them destroy lifelong learning meeting from 2pm onwards. Committee Room 11

Speakers so far include Sally Hunt UCU, John McDonnell MP, Rushanara Ali MP, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, NUS, Ian Ashman (AoC) Principal Hackney, Gerry McDonald (AoC) Principal THC. We also have speakers from other trade unions including Christine Lewis, Head of Colleges, UNISON, a national officer from the NUT, UNITE,  and the FBU. We are chasing some up and have sent out more invites. We are hoping Meg Hillier MP and Dianne Abbot will also join us – please ask them if they are your MPs.

We have a waves of guest speakers some will arrive at 2pm and others at 3pm. We want everyone who comes on the lobby to join the debate and discussion about why adult education matters. We especially want to encourage as many students as possible to tell us in their own words why adult education is important to them.

Ask your MP to sign the Early Day Motion

An Early Day Motion (EDM) urging the government to rethink the proposed cuts has now garnered 27 MP signatures. Please contact your MP and ask them to sign the early day motion.

Download materials to use in your classes on the cuts

Funding Cuts_writing & reading practice paper

L1 L2 adult education cuts functional skills questions march 15

ucu lobby leaflet

E1 E2 reading and writing education cuts

adult education cuts functional skills questions march 15

Parliamentary Lobby 2nd April

Please join us for the UCU Parliamentary Lobby on FE Funding cuts, next Wednesday April 2nd at 2pm. We are asking all ESOL teachers and students to come along and tell their MP why Adult Education is so important for them.

Adult Education has suffered a 34% cut over the last few years & faces another 9% cut this year. We need to put pressure on MPs to protect ESOL, Access and all Adult Education before it disappears completely.

Students can write to their MPs and make an appointment to meet them at the lobby next Wednesday to say how education cuts are going to affect them.

They will need to go to this website: https://www.writetothem.com/ Type in their postcode to find their MP.

They can then write an email to them saying they are coming to the UCU Parliamentary Lobby on FE Funding next Wednesday; they would like to make an appointment to see the MP to talk about how cuts to education will affect them and their family; what they study, and why they need it.

More info about the lobby is here, lobby of parliament on 2nd April

See you there!

ESOL Students & Benefit Cuts

We Should Speak English ESOLjpeg

A free afternoon of workshops and discussion exploring the impact on ESOL students of welfare cuts, the expansion of benefit sanctions and workfare. Come along to share information and think about what we as teachers can do to support our students and show solidarity with them.

28th September
1 pm – 5 pm
University of London Union
Malet Street, WC1E 7HY
Nearest tubes: Russell Square, Goodge Street, Euston

Please emailactionforesol@gmail.com to let us know you’re coming.

Boycott Workfare can cover your travel costs: just send a message toinfo@boycottworkfare.org

Outline of the Day

1.00 – 1.15 Registration, tea & coffee
1.15 – 1.45 Scene-setting: benefit cuts, sanctions, workfare and ESOL
1.45 – 3.00 Myth-busting and clarification on mandated activity and conditionality. Also – sharing information with the job centre: legal and ethical questions for teachers
3.00 – 3.15 Break
3.15 – 4.30 Supporting learners on Employment and Support Allowance (with Disabled People Against Cuts). Sharing ideas for participatory lessons on benefits
4.30 – 5.00 Planning our next steps

Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive social security. We take action against organisations profiting from workfare, encourage others to pledge to boycott it and actively inform people of their rights.

t: @boycottworkfare | f: /boycottworkfare

Action for ESOL is an alliance of unions and migrant and refugee organisations. We campaign against cuts to ESOL and for free English language classes for all those who need them.

t: @actionforesol | f: search action for esol