ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages.
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. Often the cost of attending one class is equivalent to the asylum support allowance for food, toiletries, shoes and clothes (less than £6 a 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 methods of doing this have had to be creative in the new Covid-19 world. See this blog by an ESOL tutor who transferred her class online:
A ‘safe space’ in ‘cyberspace’? Refugee students in synchronous online EAP classes.
Check out the network wide facilitated conversation, including, Presentation slides, notes and video recording. about online ESOL here.
A new Toolkit on effective practice has been produced in early 2021 by Migration Yorkshire. It is aimed at both practitioners and managers and has some voluntary sector case studies.
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)