New research from Refugee Action: English language provision ‘not fit for purpose’ as refugees wait up to
three years to start lessons. This is very helpful information for City of Sanctuary supporters who are lobbying their MPs about the need for better access for asylum seekers to English classes in support of the Let Refugees Learn campaign. Click here for the #LetRefugeesLearn Activism pack.
The charity is publishing the research as part of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission’s spotlight month on refugees, running throughout October. Refugees say learning English is “everything”, being able to speak the language of their new home country combats isolation and loneliness, and enables them to volunteer, work and make friends with their neighbours.
But as Refugee Action’s poll of 71 providers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), shows the majority (63%) are concerned that there are not enough classes available to meet people’s needs. Almost two thirds (65%) of the providers – which teach more than 35,000 ESOL learners – said they have a waiting list. Nearly half (45%) of those said people are waiting for an average of six months or more to start lessons. One said it could take three years to be assigned to a course and another said the wait could be “indefinite”.