Thousands to benefit from high-quality community based English language learning

  • £5.1 million fund to provide classes to those with little or no English
  • 30 areas across England to benefit from funding
  • Lessons to take place in safe spaces like community centres and places of worship

Thousands of people are set to benefit from a new programme of English language classes and activities to help them fulfil their potential, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed today (17 July 2020).

Building on the success of previous community-based programmes, Mr Jenrick announced £5.1 million for the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for Integration Fund for classes and language learning activities in 30 areas across England.

The new programme will offer English language sessions to those with little or no written or spoken English. The 30 successful local authorities have all designed programmes that will best meet the needs of residents with little or no English language skills, who may feel disconnected, and will help them to fulfil their potential and improve their connections within their local communities.

The tailored language lessons will be delivered in familiar and accessible community buildings such as community centres and places of worship in a socially distant way, or online, via apps, with digital laptop libraries and 1:1 learner support.

Communities Minister Rt Hon Robert Jenrick said:

We are committed to levelling up and uniting our country. And a successful, well integrated society requires everyone to be able to speak English.

This funding will provide language classes to thousands of people, so they become fully integrated and active members of society, making a positive contribution to the UK.

The most recent Census (2011) found that 770,000 people that live in England speak little or no English.

Since 2013 over 100,000 places have been made available to help isolated adults improve their English language proficiency and build their self-confidence through community-based programmes.

Lack of English skills presents a clear barrier to social and economic mobility. For some learners more formal approaches to learning English can be challenging.

The most common difficulties are travel costs, lack of childcare, illiteracy in their first language, digital exclusion or a reluctance or lack of confidence to make the first steps towards learning English.

Community-based tuition is proven to be a highly effective means of engaging people who are in greatest need of support and may not have previously taken steps to learn English.

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