Category Archives: Uncategorized

Migrants Rights Network and JCWI Demo 9th July

Action for ESOL calls on you to TAKE ACTION!

Why? The government has announced changes to family immigration rules which will stop UK residents on lower incomes from bringing their spouses to the UK. Spouses who are allowed into the UK will have to wait five years and be forced to sit an Entry 3 ESOL exam and take the Life in the UK test in order to get settlement. This is unfair and discriminatory. Action for ESOL is joining JCWI  (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) and the Migrants Rights Network in taking action against the changes.

What? Demonstration at the Home Office

When? Monday 9th July at 16:30

Where? Meet at The Home Office building on Marsham Street, London SW1 4DF  

Bring: colleagues, friends, outrage and wedding gear (optional)

Agenda for Campaign Meeting, 3rd March 2 pm

Manifesto Campaign Meeting Agenda final 3.3.12

Launch of the Action for ESOL Manifesto

The launch of the manifesto will take place on the 3rd of March at UCU’s offices in London, details below:

Time: 12pm
Venue: UCU head office, Carlow Street, London NW1 7LH

The launch will be followed at 2 p.m. by an Action for ESOL campaign meeting

For directions to Carlow Street please visit

UCU Conference, 10th March, London: Defend Public Education

The conference, Defend Public Education, is scheduled to take place on Saturday 10 March in London. Its aim is to bring together unions, students and organisations with an interest in defending our education system from cuts, privatisation and the institutionalisation of social inequality.

As well as UCU members the event is open to colleagues in all education sectors and Action for ESOL colleagues would be most welcome.

A conference flyer is available here:

Further information concerning the conference, including how to register, can be found here:

ESOL and Adult Education saved until 2013

This month saw a fantastic result for the campaign, as the government announced that the huge U-Turn on their plans to make students on benefits pay for English (ESOL) classes would now stay until 2013. Many feared the changes were ‘just for one year’ but this has now been extended for a further year until 2013/14.

The initial plans changed funding eligibility for all adult learners on so-called ‘inactive’ benefits. This meant that up to 75% of students learning English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), mainly women from black and minority ethnic groups, would not have been able to afford to pay for English classes, as students on benefits such as income support would be asked to pay up to £1200 for a course. The fees would have been unaffordable for the vast majority of ESOL students and would have had a devastating impact on ESOL students and all of our communities.

The August U-turn was an important victory for Action for ESOL as, although the concessions did not apply to those on working tax credit, low-income workers not on benefits and so-called ‘failed’ asylum seekers, most of the 250,000 adult places at risk could be saved for one more year.

Action for ESOL was founded in January 2011 by students, teachers,   researchers, union representatives and many others, who collectively worked together to oppose the eligibility changes and campaign for the promotion
of ESOL.  Action for ESOL is actively supported by the University and College Union (UCU), the National Association for Teaching English and other
Community Languages to Adults (NATECLA), the Refugee Council and other
organisations. This successful campaign has raised awareness of ESOL at a local and nation level through students and practitioners in colleges and community groups speaking to MPs, parliamentary lobbying and holding ESOL protests.

Action for ESOL’s success is due to the hundreds of students, ESOL teachers, trade unionists and supporters who took part in the demonstrations and
letter-writing, spoke to their MPs, lobbied in parliament and came on the
marches and protests around the country. And the amazing work done by everyone who responded to the chaotic last-minute U-turn by getting students back into college and in some cases getting ESOL courses and teachers re-instated.

The campaign still has work to do for those students to whom the concessions did not apply, and many colleges are still trying to undo the chaos caused by the
last-minute funding changes.

  • We should be approaching management of colleges and providers to ensure they fill places, recruit staff and plan for the extension.
  • Many colleges received extra funding following the riots and we should welcome this and approach management to re-instate those ESOL staff lost, replace ESOL closed courses and invite in all ESOL students who are on waiting lists.
  • This 2 year extension gives us time to regroup and take on the challenges down the road including fees, loans and changes wrought by the ‘universal benefit’ system due around 2015, all of which will facilitate privatisation and undermine adult and further education. We will seek to work with students and workers campaigning against cuts and privatisaion to the whole of education.

But for now, this new announcement means that Adult Education is now protected for a further year and the majority of ESOL students can continue their studies until 2013.

Read more about ESOL and Further Education: UCU FE paper – Jobs and Education, Regaining the Trust of Young People at

ESOL Fest, Brixton, June 2011

Photo © Guy Smallman

Action for ESOL Manifesto

This is the final version of the Action for ESOL Manifesto. It is the result of a huge amount of hard work and collaboration by a dedicated group of ESOL researchers, teachers and managers. Please read it and let us know what you think!

ESOL leaflet v4b online interactive Feb12

‘Building the Campaign’ meeting: Friday, 21st October, 5 pm

At the last national Action for ESOL meeting in September we set up working groups so that we can go on the offensive in the year ahead. The ”Building the Campaign” working group is meeting on Friday 21st October at 5.00pm in the Action Aid offices, 33-39 Bowling Green Lane, EC1R 0BJ. We will be discussing and planning how we build our campaign so that we can secure a future for ESOL, and for all of Adult Education. Open to all. Please come and get involved. Any questions/directions call Rebecca (079 7171 9797) or Alice (079 7627 4516)


ESOL Funding Debate, House of Commons, 13th September

In FE week, read about the debate which took place at the House of Commons on Tuesday, organised by Nick Linford of LSECT. College principals, front and back bench MPs, AfE members and other interested parties discussed the Government’s most recent policy U-turn and the importance of clarification regarding funding for ESOL.


ESOL News is a NEW website and termly newsletter covering news issues and topics of interest to ESOL students and their teachers. The material is written by students and teachers themselves and this first edition focuses on the Action for ESOL campaign and learners’ stories.  For teachers, there are accompanying teaching and learning materials based on the content.