Integration strategy green paper 14/3/18 - NATECLA's view
NATECLA welcomes the focus on English language learning as a key strand of the Government’s Integrated
Communities Strategy, but this is just fine words without an increase in investment for English. The existing demand for quality English language teaching cannot be met because funding for ESOL has fallen by 60% in real terms since 2010, and the majority of providers have waiting lists for ESOL classes.
We agree that a national strategy for ESOL is overdue and are pleased to see that this is now being proposed, but the focus on informal community learning and improving guidance to available provision does not go nearly far enough to address the needs of learners. It is sustained and accredited English language learning that will enable them to gain recognised qualifications, find jobs that match their skills, communicate with their neighbours and participate fully in society, and there is too little of this available to meet the need. Women with children are doubly disadvantaged where there is no affordable childcare to enable them to participate in learning, and, like other learners, should be enabled to attend formal English courses with qualified ESOL teachers, where they can make significant progress.
NATECLA calls on the Government to reconsider the evidence that demonstrates the vital importance of formal English language learning for integration, and to invest in this to allow all our residents to flourish in Britain.