The Department for Communities and Local Government is making £10 million funding available in the current 2011/12 academic year to support additional ESOL provision for adult learners with no or limited levels of spoken English. It will be targeted at helping those who are not in employment and are therefore unable to afford course fees.
This action follows the success of the high profile 'Action for ESOL' campaign and is seen by many to have its roots in the riots of Summer 2011. The recent publication of the Government's 'Creating the conditions for integration' paper noted that a high proportion of those identified as being in need of ESOL support are women with children living in areas already facing significant integration challenges. In the paper the government announced
Additional funding to support English language provision for those adults who are not in employment or actively seeking employment and are unable to afford fees. Government has identified a need to support those who have little or no English, a high proportion of whom are women with children living in areas already facing significant integration challenges.
Within the report, evidence is provided of the 'different journeys' of different ethnic minority communities and the importance of English language learning is highlighted:
Newer migrant communities face some specific challenges and different experiences. Speaking English is essential for living in England and poor English is a barrier to education and work, and to being active in our society. Many new migrants have arrived needing to acquire English, and some have done so more easily than others.
In making the announcement of the additional £10 million, Communities Minister Mr Stunell said:
"A poor command of English can blight both an individual's life chances and damage community relations. This fund will help to release people from the prison of not being conversant in English, give them access to the jobs market, build their self esteem and help build relations within communities.
"The Coalition Government is determined to give everyone the ability and aspiration to prosper, to realise their full potential and break down the barriers to social mobility."
Details of specific allocations will be announced in due course.
The commitment to provide additional funding to support English language provision is outlined in the Government's new approach to integration, 'Creating the conditions for integration'.
NALDIC looks forward to the government similarly recognising the linguistic barriers which many bilingual pupils face.