From education to employment

ESOL Enquiry to be Launched to Face Language Training Challenges

The National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) are set to announce an enquiry into the difficulties facing English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) providers on Wednesday.

The Enquiry is set to be chaired by Derek Grover CB. Derek Grover was a Director of Adult Learning at the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and a former director of the NHSU. The Enquiry will attempt to address some of the issues facing ESOL providers, taking into account the major challenges they face. The quality of the service provided is often considered to be patchy, with Ofsted and the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) concerned. And, unlike the current flagship programmes of literacy or numeracy learning, there is little evidence of improvement.

Derek Grover on “Biggest Challenge”

Derek Grover spoke of the hurdles that must be cleared in the Enquiry, saying: “ESOL is one of the biggest challenges we face. The demographic shift means that there is greater demand in the labour market for migrant workers. The enlargement of the European Union means that there are important new client groups to be catered for. This Enquiry will review existing evidence on the provision of ESOL in England, with particular emphasis on the quality and quantity of provision and staffing.”

In a culture built upon the economics of supply and demand, it comes as no surprise that the Enquiry will be looking into the demand. “The Enquiry will also identify the extent and nature of the current demand for ESOL provision,” said Derek Grover. “The role of ESOL in its wider context, including how it relates to citizenship and the connection it has to employment and social justice will also be discussed.”

He continued: “We will be trying to identify clearly what can be done to improve ESOL work including the quality of teaching, learning and achievement and to make recommendations on how, as a nation, ESOL should be paid for. The Enquiry aims to provide realistic and helpful recommendations to policy makers, funders, providers and practitioners for the future good of ESOL provision in this country.”

NIACE Look to Great Opportunity

The Development Officer at NIACE, Dr Jane Ward, said: “This is a great opportunity to make a difference to adults learning English, and to support ESOL practitioners. We will want to hear from ESOL learners, teachers and managers in colleges, adult education services, prisons and the voluntary sector, who will have valuable insights about what needs to be done and what can be achieved. We will be creating a website to seek views and report progress.”

The Enquiry will meet first on the 30th of November, and is expected to report during the run-up to Adult Learners” Week 2006 (20th ““ 26th May).

Jethro Marsh

What do you think the Enquiry will find? Tell us in the FE Blog

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