Alex Stevenson, Head of English, Maths & ESOL at Learning & Work Institute

Recently the Government has published its Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper. The remit is broad but the Green Paper will be of great interest to the ESOL sector given that there’s an entire chapter on ‘Boosting English Language’. And, as poor English language skills – which affect at least 770,000 people in England - hold people back in everyday life, work and education, it’s essential that this significant national challenge is addressed.

So, what’s new, what’s to welcome – and what else should be included?

Listening to Sajid Javid MP on the Today programme on the morning of the launch, it was refreshing to hear a senior politician articulate a clear understanding of the impact of poor language skills on individuals and families.

This was all the more credible because the Secretary of State drew upon personal experience as a child of interpreting at the doctor’s surgery for his mother.

There was welcome acknowledgement too of some of the key challenges around ESOL, including a lack of strategic co-ordination across government.

The ‘elephant in the room’, of course, being the uncomfortable fact that government investment in the main ESOL programme via the Adult Education Budget has declined by 60% since 2010, as many have been quick to point out on social media.

It’s good to see understanding of some key barriers to ESOL learning reflected in the Green Paper, not all of which have been well understood by policy makers in recent times.

For example, accessing early support with language learning helps faster progress, and levels and prior experience of formal education, particularly in terms of basic literacy skills, are a significant challenge.

The Green Paper also draws upon evidence from a Randomised Controlled Trial in Community-Based English Language provision, conducted by Learning & Work Institute, to highlight a range of benefits for participants in language learning.

This ranged from improved language skills and proficiency through to social integration outcomes, such as increased confidence and social mixing.

On the main policy proposals there will be much to consider and discuss.

These include a review of the impact of the English language requirement on visas (and possible further changes to this) and a review of the ‘Life in the UK’ Test.

As I’ve blogged previously, the interface between citizenship policy and the ESOL classroom has not been straightforward in recent years and ESOL practitioners will wish to follow developments in this area closely.

On English language provision directly, the Green Paper proposes:

  • A new community-based English language programme
  • A new network of community-based conversation clubs
  • Work with local authorities in the Integration Areas to improve access to English language provision, and a new infrastructure fund open to other local authorities.

To meet the diverse range of learning needs within ESOL it’s important that informal opportunities to learn are available, particularly to engage those who are the least confident - but alongside formal, accredited classes.

An effective ESOL infrastructure requires both. Therefore, it’s important that the Government also looks at the overall investment in ESOL, not just through community programmes, but through the Adult Education Budget as well.

It means looking at new ways of investing in ESOL- through Government entitlements, through supporting those learners who can contribute to the cost of learning to do so and through greater consideration to the role of employers in co-investing in ESOL.

Most significantly, the Green Paper proposes a new strategy for English Language in England. This will be welcomed by ESOL organisations such as NATECLA, as the focus of its recent campaign illustrates.

Any strategy must draw together current government programmes on English language and make new links to other policy areas where English language learning supports better outcomes, such as health.

It should also include provision for regular and purposeful dialogue between ESOL stakeholders and the various Government departments involved.

Above all, it should be positive in tone, recognising that most people who don’t speak English well would like to and focus on enabling them to get the learning they need.

There will undoubtedly be a whole range of views as to what else the strategy should include – so now’s the time for the ESOL sector to respond to the Green Paper with its views, evidence and expertise.

Alex Stevenson, Head of English, Maths & ESOL at Learning & Work Institute

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

Dyspraxia Lambeth had a status update on Twitter 15 hours 1 minute ago

@ERSA_CEO @apprenticelsbu @Edu4sj_lsbu @milton_damian @QLMentoring @EdDavie @NancyDoylePsych @HWLambeth Fears ‘lost… https://t.co/HgFJWeC60R
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page