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