Skills Minister John Hayes has pledged to provide more effective, targeted help for people who face barriers to learning the English language skills.
“We recognise there is a broader purpose to learning English, it can be crucial for integration and community cohesion,” said Mr Hayes.
“By targeting public funding on those in greatest need, and setting higher standards for providers, our reforms will make English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision work better for learners, employers, and taxpayers.”
Following the publication of an equality impact assessment of provision for ESOL training, the Minister announced that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will work in partnership with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on developing new forms of support for those who need informal, community-based learning of English.
The Minister has also asked the Association of Colleges (AoC) to help develop with providers an effective methodology for targeting funds at settled communities, in which language barriers inhibit individual opportunity and community cohesion.
From August this year, national provision of full funding for ESOL courses will be primarily focussed on those actively seeking work on Jobseekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance (Work Related Activity Group).
In response to Mr Hayes’ pledge, Communities Minster Andrew Stunell said: “A good command of English broadens economic opportunities and helps to promote integration. Without this skill, there is a risk of social exclusion and people being denied the opportunity to realise their full potential.
“We want to see a more integrated Britain and English language skills are crucial, allowing us all to get on and play an active part in the economic and social life of our communities.”
Key measures include:
- BIS will work in partnership with DCLG on developing new forms of support for those who need informal, community-based learning of English.
- Reiterating the offer of fully funded ESOL training for jobseekers to help them gain the language skills they need to get into work.
- For FE colleges and training organisations, a clearer remit to provide good quality English Language provision that employers are willing to pay for.
(Pictured: Skills Minister John Hayes)