NIACE update on ESOL policy changes

13 September 2011

NIACE has published its latest update on the government policy changes to funding for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in England. Last month, NIACE welcomed the flexibility given to ESOL providers to support learners, but still has concerns that the overall funding may still have a negative impact on two groups: women and low paid workers.

Reductions in ESOL provision will mean more adults remain dependent on others to interpret for them in order to access public services. Leaving aside the costs of ensuring translation and interpretation in the health and criminal justice services, women in particular may rely more on their own community, who speak their own language, and be unable to form wider friendships and networks. Children too may be withdrawn from school to act as interpreter for their parents.

Chris Taylor, NIACE Programme Manager for ESOL said:

“The government is reviewing the impact of the funding changes and we really welcome this. It is important that ESOL providers gather all the evidence on the ESOL learners enrolling this week, but also anyone who is turned away because they cannot afford to pay fees.”

NIACE believes that ESOL learners:

  • increase the UK’s skilled workforce;
  • become more active citizens thus benefitting the local community; 
  • can better support their families, especially children in school; and 
  • can apply for UK citizenship through the accredited ESOL with Citizenship route.