Cuts Watch #382: Action for ESOL
Action for ESOL is an alliance of ESOL practitioners, unions, students and community organisations, campaigning against huge cuts planned for the teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
In November, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills published a strategy document called Further Education – New Horizon, setting out the government’s investment strategy for further education. A key element was to limit funding for free places on ESOL courses to people who receive Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance. Other planned cuts include an end to all government funding for ESOL courses in the workplace.
The campaign includes a Facebook page and a petition; at the same time, the National Association for Teaching English and Community Languages to Adults has produced a briefing paper, setting out the case for funding, a poster and a page of FAQs. As the Observer noted, the cuts in ESOL will trap new immigrants in low-paid jobs, denying them access to the language skills that might help them to progress; a strange move, given the Prime Minister’s speech criticising immigrants for not learning English.