Accessing ESOL classes is often a really important part of integration; building skills and feeling part of a community.
Access to classes in England is not possible in the first 6 months after arrival and funding cuts have affected ESOL classes and their availability in recent times. Often the cost of attending one class is equivalent to the asylum support allowance for food, toiletries, shoes and clothes ( just over £5/ day), making it a difficult choice between learning or eating.
There are many informal free ESOL classes across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, trying to bridge this gap, enabling people to integrate and connecting people with people – and in so doing breaking down barriers and prejudices and building confidence and relationships.
City of Sanctuary volunteers are delivering ESOL classes, one to one support and conversation clubs in different cities and towns.
The Refugee Action campaign Let Refugees Learn calls for better provision of ESOL for refugees
Action for ESOL is a campaign to protect ESOL provision (and has some great resources for ESOL classes on the UK political system)
Voluntary ESOL for sanctuary seekers
The Basics of Voluntary ESOL – a guide from Birmingham CoS ESOL Forum by Steph Neville, St Chad’s Sanctuary ESOL coordinator
Stepping Stones – is a fully developed course from University of Manchester including materials and session plans for teachers (including volunteer teachers) to deliver
basic English language provision to mums new to English, along with their babies, in settings such as children’s centres, schools, libraries, cultural and community centres.
Working with refugees and asylum seekers – support materials for ESOL providers – Excellence Gateway. These materials are a bit dated but much of the information is still relevant to anyone teaching ESOL to this vulnerable group for the first time.
Materials for Teachers
Good Things Foundation ‘English My Way’ resources – Free teaching resources for those who support adults with no or low levels of English
A Council of Europe Toolkit -The toolkit is designed to assist organisations, and especially volunteers, providing language support for adult refugees.
#refugeeswelcomeinparks resource ‘Let’s Talk About Parks’ – beautiful free photo cards to support ESOL conversations in any setting
Learn English Free – a fabulous Facebook page to share with your learners with great photo cards covering a range of language issues in a visual way
TES -Free teaching materials for educators working with refugees
The British Council – Lesson plans and activities for English language teachers of adults, business English students and learners in tertiary education.
ESOL Resources – UK website with flashcards topical videos and classroom ideas. Suitable for beginners in the classroom or as a small group exercise.
Skills Workshop – ICT, Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL resources for classroom use from pre-entry to Level 2. Free access.
Handwriting Worksheets – Enter your own script (student’s name, sentence) This programme produces customised sheets for handwriting practice.
British slang – The Wikipedia guide – can be helpful as slang can be very confusing to new arrivals and is potentially a great subject for amusing lessons. See this short video of a class learning the local lingo in Londonderry.
Many words which we use in English are borrowed or loan words from many different languages. See this comprehensive list of such words.
Other General Resources and Resources for Planning
The fully comprehensive Core Curriculum for English for Speakers of Other Languages, which can be used as a guide to structuring learning and as a resource of ideas for activities in the English classroom.
Family Learning in ESOL free website resources Working with adults and children together is a well established model and may be appropriate in a Schools of Sanctuary or community or home context. For more information on what Family Learning in ESOL is and a contact for support please click here.
Reflect for ESOL Resource Pack – from Skills for life Network. An innovative approach to adult learning and social change in a set of materials intended for anyone teaching or working with refugees, asylum seekers, or long-term immigrant groups in the UK.
Facilitating Adult Learning A good summary of interactive learning methodology
Learning Unlimited – a range of relevant downloadable resources including Welcome to the UK project packs: Preparing for Life in the UK Test, Befrienders Toolkit, and other ESOL materials. Some of these include authorable sections for easy adaptation.
Life in the UK – Test Preparation and Practice This is a free website to practice and help migrants pass the test needed for British citizenship. The test is one of the requirements to become permanent residents or to apply for citizenship.
IELTS Official YouTube channel. Videos, discussion for those preparing for the IELTS exams.
Trinity College Information on the GESE Grade 5 exam: Required for Indefinite Leave to Remain (to settle) or British Citizenship. Candidates must pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) in at least CEFR level B1 in Speaking and Listening.
Refugee Action – The Survival Guide to Manchester slang – ‘Ave a Word.
Are you Eligible for ESOL? – Thanks to Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary
OLS is a free online language learning platform for refugees and newly arrived migrants.
English My Way – Teaching resources for real beginners, especially those with little or no writing experience.
Really English – an app for refugees / on line learning resources from RefuAid Language Gateway
Dave’s ESL Cafe – – aimed at higher level students (above Entry 3) – includes grammar, pronunciation, slang and idioms. Pages for teachers and students.
The FAN model may be useful for new groups