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.
Proposed Immigration Policy
NATECLA believes that the Government’s proposed new immigration system and policy, due to come into effect in January 2021, is extremely damaging to the principles and values of ESOL. The new system is likely to have consequences for the ESOL sector, as well as other further education skills areas.
The new system proposes a points-based visa system to replace the free movement of labour of EU citizens and the current controls for non-EU citizens. Most people wishing to come to work in the UK will need to have a job offer at a skill level of at least RQF 3 (A level) and ‘speak English at a required level’. They will also need to satisfy the requirement for twenty additional points, mainly by means of higher wage levels or holding a job-relevant PhD. Applicants deemed to be low-skilled due to low-paying sectors such as in the hospitality and care sectors will not be able to achieve the points required. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has claimed the 8.5 million ‘economically inactive’ citizens within the UK can make up any shortfall in these job areas. According to official figures from the Office for National Statistics the vast majority of these people are students, long-term sick and retired.
The main repercussion for ESOL provision is that there will be a reduction in numbers of people eligible for ESOL. Although key details have yet to be confirmed, from January 2021 thousands of learners who have traditionally been part of ESOL will not be allowed into the UK. In addition, it seems likely that new arrivals, who may still need ESOL despite ‘speaking English at the required level’, will be ineligible for funding. This is likely to lead to a loss of provision as ESOL providers may not be able to maintain current provision. Furthermore, any disruption in provision is likely to affect those who continue to need it, such as refugees, settled EU citizens and learners from established communities.
NATECLA is adding its voice to campaigns urging the government to review and change the terms of this immigration policy. We believe this policy will contribute further to an increasingly hostile attitude towards migrants and is based on a misunderstanding of the roles and contributions of those who come to work and live in the UK. We are very concerned that the new immigration policy only recognises people based on a narrow economic value, without regard for wider social and economic contributions. Those who work in low-paid sectors such as hospitality, agriculture and care are not a burden on the state, but offer valuable contributions to our economy and ways of living. ESOL plays a key role in the creation of a global Britain and a vibrant, multilingual economy that enriches us all.
NATECLA urges our members to be active in our campaign, to ensure the consequences of this policy are understood within your institutions and beyond, and to keep us informed of any effects of this policy on in your ESOL provision. You can contact your local NATECLA branch or the Co-Chairs: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 our latest November 2019 Brexit update here
>> See our September 2019 Update to NATECLA's No-Deal Brexit statement
>> See out August 2019 No-Deal Brexit statement
>> See our December 2018 response to Brexit
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:
- Befrienders and language supporter
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 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.