ESB supports the Mayor of London’s plans to provide free ESOL courses for Londoners

mayor london sadiq khan esol
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

English Speaking Board (International) Ltd. fully supports the Greater London Authority (GLA)’s proposal to fund ESOL courses for learners in London up to Entry 3.

One in three Londoners were born outside the UK, and more than 300 languages are spoken on our streets. More than 50% of the country’s ESOL provision takes place in the capital. Proficiency in the English language is a prerequisite for most jobs and career progression in the capital, but some 210,000 working age adults in London report that they cannot speak English very well.

Despite this clear necessity to learn English, government funding for ESOL provision has yo-yoed in recent years. The Mayor of London has called on the government to reverse these cuts in order to effectively improve English language and literacy among Londoners.

From 2020/21, the Mayor proposes to fully fund ESOL provision up to Entry Level 3—the level of English required for British Citizenship. Creating an entitlement for ESOL to this level shows that London is open to talent and will support Londoners to get the skills they need to succeed. Given the demand for ESOL in London, the Mayor will also conduct a focused review on the quality and delivery of ESOL provision in the capital. He plans to invest £4.5 million in London’s ESOL sector: using European Social Funding to address gaps in provision for those with the lowest levels of literacy, and supporting ESOL practitioners to develop their teaching skills, improving the quality of provision in London.

Founded in 1953 on a promise ‘to encourage ease and access in everyday communication and discussion’, this decision to ensure English language provision is accessible to those who need it resonates strongly with ESB, which recognises and encourages the potential of all learners. In fact, ESB is so committed to supporting schools, colleges and learners, that it established its very own Christabel Burniston Fund, named in honour of its founder, which supports disadvantaged learners, discounts fees and subsidises training for teachers to support ESB assessments.

ESB International’s Chief Executive, Tina Renshaw, says, “The Mayor’s plans to fund ESOL courses will have a huge impact on learners and colleges in London, and will ultimately help Londoners achieve the necessary skills for integration and employment in the UK.

Being a part of your community through the ability to listen and talk with your neighbours and co-workers;  visit a doctor;  share experiences and worries with other mums and dads, is how we build understanding, empathy and tolerance.

We fully back this decision and are excited about what this could hold for our ESOL learners.”

ESB’s Business Adviser (ESOL) Jackie Johnson, adds: “ESB runs ESOL courses in FE colleges, charities and Adult Education centres across the Greater London Area, including centres with large numbers of ESOL learners, such as College of North West London and Stanmore College. Last year alone, ESB assessed over 22,600 ESOL learners, demonstrating the sheer scale of those seeking English language skills for life in the UK.

With the number of learners taking ESB ESOL courses increasing every year, there is no question of the demand to learn English language skills in the UK. ESB is proud to support Londoners to acquire the skills they need to succeed.


Please click here to read the full article from FE Week.
Please click here to find out more about our ESOL courses.

For further information please contact Deborah Bassett on 01695 573439 ext. 212

Employability ESOL Skills for Life Language


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