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ESOL Strategy for England - 2022

An ESOL Strategy for England

 Since 2016 NATECLA has called for an ESOL strategy for England. An ESOL strategy will:

1. Boost economic growth by making better use of the existing skills and potential of migrants. The number of well-qualified adult migrants and refugees settling in the UK is high with an OECD report from 2018 highlighting that 48% of migrants were educated at tertiary level (compared to only 39% of UK-born citizens). However, many of these learners are currently unemployed or in low-skilled jobs because their English language skills do not match the level of their technical skills or qualifications.  Our country needs to tap into these skills by providing suitable ESOL options.

2. Create a more equal society - levelling up in terms of wealth, health and wellbeing. Research underlines significant links between poor English language skills, poor health, lower income and higher unemployment rates amongst linguistic minority communities so we need to ensure that those with low levels of English, who are furthest away from the labour market, are part of any ‘levelling up’ strategy.  

3. Allow for flexible and high-quality English provision that meets the needs of changing immigration patterns, post-Brexit. Your plan for a community learning centre in every town and introducing tax credits for employers who invest in training for their staff needs to put ESOL at the forefront.

4. Improve social cohesion by enabling better communication in communities. In many cases, ESOL learners have to be resident in the UK for three years before they can access provision. This is having a devastatingly detrimental effect on newly arrived migrants who, are unable to participate fully in their communities within the first few years of arrival. With a robust ESOL strategy in place, and with early access to ESOL provision, these new-arrivals would have a far better chance of realising their potential, integrating quickly into their communities and making a positive contribution to our country. 

Although an ESOL strategy was promised as part of the government’s Integrated Communities Strategy, for publication in Autumn 2019 it still has not materialised and therefore we believe that a strategic approach to ESOL provision is needed now more than ever before.

    Photo: Launch of the campaign for an ESOL Strategy, Westminster October 2016

How you can support us

  Join NATECLA, have a voice, locally and nationally. More information on membership can be found here.
To receive further information about our campaign or to add your name, or the name of your organisation, to our list of endorsements write to Greg Dugdale at info@natecla.org.uk .
Forward the below campaign document to your contacts or send them to your MP. Find out how here

 Further reading

Key documents:

Contains details of NATECLA's national consultation on proposals for a strategy, our vision, background to ESOL in England. In addition, references other reports and articles related to a national ESOL strategy.



The background to the 2016 campaign and the 'Towards an ESOL Strategy for England' document can be read here

This report outlined the action plan for the Integrated Communities Strategy, including a section on English Language (Chapter 4).

This report outlines upcoming reforms to post-16 technical education and training to support people to develop the skills needed to get good jobs and improve national productivity.  The report promises that ESOL will be a key part of the future adult skills system.

This report outlines the future for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learning in the content of new immigration policies, the recovery from coronavirus, and Adult Education Budget devolution.  The report identifies a number of key benefits that a national ESOL strategy would bring to the national economy and the government’s skills agenda, as well as from integrating communities.

 Proposals by a cross party committee of MPs.

A short summary of the current need for action.

A statement of beliefs and values of ESOL stakeholders produced after the Action for ESOL campaign 2010-2011