Working in partnership with De Montfort University, and funded by The Bell Foundation, the Improving Language, Improving Lives project aims to develop and pilot a Citizens’ Curriculum for ESOL learners in prisons and community rehabilitation settings.

There is little formal evidence of the scale of ESOL need in the secure estate and amongst those released from custodial settings, nor about the kinds of language-based interventions that would best meet these needs.  Evidence from 2009 Learning and Work Institute research suggests that language skills alone will not be sufficient to support improved learner and social outcomes.

This project developed and pilot a Citizens’ Curriculum approach which, through improved identification of language learning needs and a learner-led bespoke curriculum which interlinks language learning with wider capabilities needed to support self-efficacy in today’s society, should better equip learners to progress to further learning, work and ultimately reduce re-offending.

Through research, development, piloting and evaluation, the project has developed:

  1. A screening tool designed for non-ESOL specialists working in the ‘gate-keeping roles’ to be able to identify language needs more effectively and consistently. For a copy of the screening tool and guidance to use in your institution, please contact a member of the project team. 
  2. ESOL resources to combine language learning with embedded wider capabilities in numeracy, digital, health financial and civic capabilities (including elements of personal and social development).  The resource pack is now available to download from the Bell Foundation’s website.

Explore the final report of the project here.

In partnership with :-
De Montfort University





Funded by :-
The Bell Foundation