- Restore the funding for ESOL
- Free English classes for migrants and asylum seekers.
- Popularise the Action for ESOL manifesto http://actionforesol.org/
Dear London Mayoral Candidate
We would like you to put ESOL classes on your manifesto and then make it a policy priority if you become the next Mayor of London.
Funding for ESOL classes has been cut drastically by the coalition and current Conservative government. Demos suggest that there are 700,000 people nationally who have English-language needs and are unable to access classes; many of these people are Londoners.
Why is ESOL so important to London?
Migrants with English as an additional language number over a million people in London. ESOL is therefore essential for the following reasons:
* Social justice and equality learning English gives everyone the opportunity to thrive in our city and play a full role in their local communities and society as a whole.
* Democracy learning English enables people to participate in the political life of their neighbourhoods, their workplaces and their faith organisations and their community groups.
* Young people learning English helps parents to support their children’s education.
* Work learning English helps people to find work, progress at work and organise for their rights at work.
We would like to see an ESOL policy for London that:
* Reverses cuts to provide ESOL provision appropriate for the multicultural city that London is
* Ensure that classes are free and accessible to all those who need it
* Addresses barriers to participation such as childcare and work schedules
* Liberates teachers and students to develop a people’s curriculum
* Protects the FE colleges and Adult Education Services that are so important to our communities
* Maintains professional standards of provision
* Does not scapegoat and demonise migrants.
Action for ESOL. We are a UK-wide coalition of teachers and researchers, read our manifesto here:
ESOL teachers say thousands excluded from learning English ( ESOL)
ESOL teachers across the country have joined together to tell David Cameron he is wrong to cut budgets for English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL), that the £20 million for ESOL he proposes is a drop in the ocean. Since 2009 the overall Adult Skills budget that funds ESOL has been reduced by 35 percent which has led , to a drop in overall ESOL participation by 22 percent, disproportionately impacting women and ethnic minorities.
Action for ESOL questions the commitment of Prime Minister David Cameron to promoting “integration” among migrant groups. Linking multilingualism to extremism is hypocritical and inflammatory, and stereotypes Muslim communities.
Under Cameron’s premiership thousands of potential learners have been excluded from learning English.
In 2015/16 alone, the Adult Skills Budget was reduced by 24% leaving thousands of learners with no access to classes. The sudden withdrawal of £45 million of ESOL funding this summer led to an immediate reduction of 16,000 learners for ESOL.
Demand for ESOL classes continues to outstrip places available in ESOL classes. Hundreds of potential learners are being turned away by every provider.
In 80% of localities, there are waiting lists of up to 1.000 potential students. Hackney Community College in East London alone has a waiting list of over 300 people, mostly women.
Two thirds of ESOL learners are women. Funding for student support – including for childcare – has been eroded.
The Governments own Equality Impact Assessment from 2011 on ESOL cuts, drew attention to negative and disproportionate impact on women that reductions in ESOL funding and provision would have.
The effect is to leave women isolated. It is widely accepted that ESOL learners who do not have ESOL often have poorer health, housing and pay, and higher rates of unemployment. The opportunity to learn English is essential if migrants are to be able to participate fully in society.
Action for ESOL are concerned that punitive threats of deportation will further exclude students from education and cause fear and isolation. Those on spousal visas are not entitled to get ESOL classes for three years,
ESOL should not be linked to immigration status. It would be better to have more classes than break up families by deporting their mothers, this goes against the grain of everything we do as inclusive professional educators and for the demands of an equal society for all.
Migrants to the UK are keen to learn English, the biggest obstacle to this is the drastic lack of classes caused by year-on-year cuts.
Action for ESOL believes that ESOL for all refugees and migrant learners should be fully Government funded and supported by full outreach to all communities.
We urge the Government to recognise the crucial contribution language learning makes to society as a whole. ESOL provision should be a statutory entitlement, not subject to the vagaries of disjointed funding policy.
Action for ESOL
078131 35 922
Press release: ‘Passive tolerance’ of separate communities must end, says PM
Cameron under fire over English language skills warning for Muslim women.
* According to the Dailymail the PM’s proposal, the women would be expected to have reached the A2 – elementary – level after two-and-a-half years, and B1 – intermediate – after five years.
New ESOL funding for Muslim women: NATECLA’s response
Prime minister’s call for people to learn English exposes cuts to language classes
If Cameron wants female migrants to learn English, why did he cut ESOL funding?
Cameron ‘stigmatising Muslim women’ with English language policy
Are David Cameron’s English lessons for Muslim women simply reversing his own cuts?
Cameron announces ‘funding’ for English classes six months after £45 million cuts
As an English teacher of Muslim women I know that Cameron’s plans are hypocritical and demonising – by Dermot Bryers
Cameron’s new English courses for women ‘don’t make up for £160m Esol cuts’, colleges warn
David Cameron tells Muslim women to learn English – after cutting English language classes
Action for ESOL is holding a strategy day to assess the current situation and determine our next steps. Much has changed since the campaign was launched and we feel the need to take stock.
Venue: Cardinal Hume Centre 3-7 Arneway Street off, Horseferry Rd, London SW1P 2BG
Time and Date: Saturday 9th January 11 – 3pm and then lunch together (bring something to share if you can). Tea and coffee provided.
- Remember what we have done together as a campaign and what we have achieved so far
- Restate our objectives (revisit the ESOL Manifesto?)
- Pool our knowledge to do a power analysis of ESOL. Who has power to effect the change we want to bring about? How can we influence those people/groups?
- Plan our next steps in groups
All of the activities will be facilitated using participatory tools that can be used in the classroom with students. If you would like to support with the facilitation please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download flyer here: Strategy day action
Join the Facebook event here :
Please come to this if you possibly can and if you can bring someone new to the campaign, even better!
Refugees are beginning to come to London from the recent crisis. College education has a proud history of supporting refugees and the funding is there, but Government need to put the money back into quality education instead of a dumb downed version of cheap role play.
Action For ESOL has written a letter to the Guardian in reply to their article entitled ‘After Wires and Fences, Refugees need help scaling the language barrier’.
Below is the letter to the Guardian re the article:
Volunteer based initiatives, like the Creative English programme, have a valuable role to play in providing opportunities for English language learners to practise English in a friendly, welcoming environment.
However, your article seems to suggest that a respected sector of adult education could be substituted with untrained volunteers. This would never be suggested for maths or English for native speakers. In light of the threat to ESOL already posed by significant government cuts (over 50% of funding cut since 2009), such a suggestion is irresponsible.
We are not surprised that the predominantly low level participants in the Creative English project reported gains in confidence. Practising English is likely to increase confidence. However, this project is focused solely on improving the speaking skills of low and intermediate learners. Qualified ESOL teachers, by contrast, are trained to identify and work with English learners’ complex language and literacy needs beyond the basics. Whilst being able to have a short conversation in a shop or speak to a health professional is vital for life in the UK, this understates the language and literacy skills people need to pursue an enriched life in the UK, one with opportunities rather than barriers.
The Syrian refugee settlement programme is funded by central government. The same government that has awarded funding to ESOL projects staffed by volunteers, whilst slashing traditional ESOL provision. Ultimately, it will be refugee and migrant English learners who suffer. If the government is serious about helping Syrians resettle in the UK, then they should fund high quality ESOL programmes taught by experienced specialist teachers which allow students to develop competence as well as confidence.
Action for ESOL & NATECLA
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!
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!
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.
Now come to the next Action for ESOL meeting on Monday 9th November, 6.30pm, Morley College, to talk about what we do next.
Latest line up of confirmed speakers and attendees:
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.
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.
Please circulate widely and see you on Wednesday!
The 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.
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 email@example.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.
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
We can make this work , we can make a difference , past campaigns have been successful , let’s make this one a success too!
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: ,