The government recognises that learning English is essential in enabling refugees to rebuild their lives. We are working across government to develop a new strategy for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) in 2019. The strategy will provide a shared vision for all publicly funded English language provision and it will include addressing the needs of refugees. We will explore what needs to be done to enable good local solutions and to support greater access to English language provision. We will consider the ‘Turning Words into Action’ report, attached, as we develop the strategy.
The department funds ESOL through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), which is allocated to providers on an annual basis. Colleges and adult learning providers have the freedom and flexibility to determine how they use their AEB allocation to meet the needs of their communities. This includes planning, with local partners, the ESOL courses that they will deliver locally. The Home Office and the Department for Education have provided £10 million to enable refugees resettled through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme to access additional classes.
From the start of the 2019/20 academic year approximately 50% of the AEB will be devolved to 6 Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and to the Mayor of London through the Greater London Authority (GLA). The MCAs and GLA will be responsible for commissioning and funding AEB provision, including ESOL, for learners resident in their areas.
We know that there are many examples of good practice to overcome barriers for learners with childcare needs. Through the ESOL strategy, we will explore what else needs to be done to enable good local solutions and to support greater access to English language provision.