Defend ESOL (English for speakers of other languages)

A meeting was held on 8th Dec with UCU (Universities and Colleges Union) and NNRF (Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum) about a cut to funding for ESOL (English for speakers of other languages).

The government’s proposals for changing ESOL funding next academic year pose an extremely serious threat. They radically restrict the rights of many non-English speakers to publicly funded classes, and threaten the jobs of ESOL teachers. In their new strategy for FE, the government will restrict access to public funding to students from ‘settled communities’.

Only those students ‘actively seeking work’ and receiving JSA or the new ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) would be eligible for full fee remission. Others would be subject to so-called ‘co-funding’, which in all likelihood means an increase in course fees, including for those in low-paid jobs and on Working Tax Credit or housing benefit. In addition, asylum seekers and students on Section 4 support would no longer be eligible for publicly funded language classes.

This attack on ESOL funding would undermine integration, progression and access to decent employment. It could push provision back into the margins of voluntary teaching and under-resourced community classes.

UCU and the Refugee Forum are jointly organising meetings for teachers, students and others to discuss what action we can take to defend ESOL.

More information:

See IRR: Coalition announces cuts in ESOL funding
See NATECLA letter to the TES –
A national organising meeting has been convened by the lecturers’ union, UCU, with NATECLA, the Refugee Council and individual ESOL teachers / researchers. This will be on January 12th 4.00pm at the UCU London Office,

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