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Our beliefs on current issues

NATECLA has put together the following position statements on issues that are currently or regularly discussed in the media and affect the lives of our members and their learners. If you're a member of the press and would like us to  comment more specifically on any of these issues or a policy maker who would like us to provide current advice on a related concern, please contact us

Volunteer teachers

NATECLA believes the voluntary teaching sector should complement the public sector but not replace it. 
We see volunteer teachers falling into one of two categories:
  1. Befrienders and language supporter
  2. Teachers
We feel that:
  • It’s acceptable for befrienders and language supporters not to hold a teaching qualification but the organisation that they give their time to should provide them with access to regular training.
  • Teachers should be qualified or working towards a qualification. This would be an initial teaching qualification such as a Cambridge CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL at the minimum but, ideally, a full teaching qualification such as a PGCE or DTLLS. 
  • It’s essential that all volunteer teaching and support staff are aware of the progression routes for learners.
  • All volunteer teaching and support staff know how to refer learners to other agencies as is necessary (for example, the NHS, social services and other education providers).

NATECLA support the voluntary sector through our CPD offering and more information about this can be found on our resource page for volunteer ESOL teachers

Small voluntary sector organisations can now also join NATECLA at the discounted rate of £50 per year and volunteer ESOL teachers can join for only £20. Find out more about how to join NATECLA and associated costs. 


NATECLA believes that:

The UK should remain open and welcoming to all EU citizens. They make a valuable/inestimable contribution to the economic well-being, diversity and cultural richness of the country. Whatever the future political and economic relationship between the UK and the EU, all EU citizens should continue to have the same rights, eligibility and entitlement to educational opportunities as UK citizens, including access to ESOL and adult education in general. 

>> See out August 2019 No-Deal Brexit statement

>> See our December 2018 response to Brexit

Asylum seekers

NATECLA is concerned at the present lack of clarity about the basic human right to study.

This right appears to have been removed from some asylum seekers, particularly teenagers and young adults, who may not even be aware that they are on ‘immigration bail’. NATECLA  strongly believes in the positive effect of education, especially for the mental wellbeing of individuals who have experienced trauma. We believe that studying promotes integration and motivation, as well as developing skills that will help students into work once they have been granted leave to remain.

We call on the Home Office to:
  • Ensure that asylum seekers are normally granted bail with a condition that allows them to study 
  • Review the cases of all those who have already been given a no study condition.