NATECLA response to Integration not Demonisation report
APPG on Social Integration: Integration not Demonisation report, August 2017
* Please note the following mistake to the APPG report: On page 65, footnote 136 cites our report as follows:
'136 NATECLA (2016), Towards and Integration Strategy for England'. The NATECLA report was actually entitled ‘Towards an ESOL Strategy for England’. The APPG have been made aware of this error and will rectify it before the printed document is produced.
As the membership body for ESOL teachers in the UK, NATECLA welcomes the report published today by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration entitled Integration not Demonisation;
particularly commending its focus on English language skills .The report recommended the need for a national strategy for the promotion of English language learning to improve integration, something NATECLA have actively been campaigning for, and cited our work on the ‘Towards an ESOL Strategy for England’ document published in October 2016
We agree that all migrants who live in the UK should have the opportunity to enrol on ESOL programmes. We do, however, believe that these should be made free at the point of delivery for migrants who are unemployed, in receipt of other benefits, beginner learners of English, have low literacy levels in their first language or have asylum seeker or refugee status. We do not think these groups should be expected to fund their English learning through a student loan system, as recommended by the report.
The English language teaching system is reaching crisis point in our country, owing to a consistent lack of government investment in provision over the last few years. As the 2011 Census highlighted, approximately 800,000 people living the UK could not speak English well or at all. At the same time, the Skills Budget for ESOL has been halved from £203 million in 2009/10 to £104 million in 2014/15. The number of adults who are therefore able to enrol on a course has fallen from 207,400 to 131,000 between 2008/9 and 2014/15 and significant waiting lists have been reported in 80% of centres offering ESOL courses for adults - mainly adult education services and further education colleges.
We are delighted that this high profile report has highlighted how essential it is for migrants to learn English if they are going to contribute to the English economy and society and the urgent need for government investment in this area. We hope key policymakers strongly consider both this report and the NATECLA-led ‘Towards an ESOL Strategy for England’ document
when developing their integration strategy over the next few years.
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