I suggest a campaign about ...

ESOL funding

Funding for English language lessons is about to be slashed - this will affect tens of thousands of learners and their families amking integration and work impossible for many.

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    kate Lkate L shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    45 comments

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      • Zoe BremerZoe Bremer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think we should copy the Israeli government, which provides full-time courses in Hebrew (I think they last four months) for all new immigrants. If everyone arriving here was offered a course to Cambridge Proficiency level in English (or Wales or Gaelic, as appropriate) on a residential basis, then schools would not have to deal with this problem at all.

      • Fran WardellFran Wardell commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        English language classes can be pivotal in terms of cultural integration on many levels. After attending ESOL classes people feel more confident about looking for work, about helping their children with schoolwork and in general about settling into and being a part of U.K society.

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Meg, you are right about the title and the acronym - when I started the campaign i did not know that was going to be the title. the box asked for the subject. Had i known i would certainly have written something easier to understand and more persuasive.

      • Indi BainsIndi Bains commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think this is a really important cause, especially as the cuts are threatening the futures of so many non-UK born teens and adults for years to come. I teach ESOL students who are some of the poorest, most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our society, where these funding cuts will have a cruel impact on them since they rely on English language learning to integrate into our communities, become self-reliant, and gain the skills and experience that will give them better prospects for work and study later on. While it's easy to say 'why should we pay for their learning?' some forget that many of these people are here because they are political migrants and refugees forced to leave their countries because of persecution and political oppression. Secondly, as Linda points out, the state ends up having to support these people if they don't have the means or prospects to support themselves (e.g. how much do we end up spending on expensive translation services and benefits?)

        The cuts are particularly unfair and discriminating towards women, who make up most of the ESOL student intake at my college, and who have the most to lose out on if the proposed cuts are pushed through, forcing them to pay up to a £1000 a year for courses.

        I think we have to face the fact that the members of our communities are and will continue in the future to be made up of people from diverse backgrounds. Do we really want to create a future society where its foundations are based on race and sex discrimination?

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Russell, do you say the same to the thousands of Brits who live in Spain, France etc? Do you understand the danger and horror many ESOL students have escaped in their own countries? Do you think it is better for people to play a full part in society or hide at home unable to speak or understand? Do you think it is better for the economy to give people the skills to work or leave them on benefits?

      • Anita HanwellAnita Hanwell commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        How can we expect people to intergrate and be part of the big society if we don't give them the opportunity of learning English? These cuts will mean that thousands of people will not be able to go to English classes. As an ESOL tutor I have seen the huge benefit of people being able to learn English and become more independent - and able to work, help their children at school and take an active part in society.
        It is very wrong to cut funding for this vulnerable section of our society.

      • KitajKitaj commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I am an ESOL teacher. I also voluntarily teach asylum seekers and refugees two days a week. Many of my students have seen their families murdered and have taken huge risks to come to this country. Many come from Iraq (now not offered refugee options) and Afghanistan when the UK and its allies bombed their country. Many want to return to their own country when it's safe to do so - some want to eventually set up business in this country trading with their old countries (this being economically self-sufficient and paying taxes in the UK). Most do not want to claim benefits and instead sleep on the couches of friends, relying on goodwill until they can be self-sufficient. The new rules mean that all foreigners will have to claim JSA otherwise they will have to pay for their English lessons. The lessons are already seriously oversubscribed. An ability to speak and write English doesn't only make people more acceptable to employers; it means that parents can attend Parent's evenings in schools. They can make English friends and speak to their children's friends in English, they can fully take part in the democratic processes of the UK and not feel alienated. Over and over again it is this alienation that causes problems. The majority of people from abroad will take any job in order to be economically active. The health service is run by low paid foreign people who take the jobs that people in the UK won't take. Care homes ditto. Many of these people have degrees but are prepared to take any job, not only because their English is limited but because they are so grateful to be alive. Please find out a little more about what you are talking about before you repeat the garbage that is printed in the tabloids. TESOL teachers teach English all over the world; countries such as S. Korea subsidise their students so that they can learn English as they see it as beneficial for their country. Shame we English people are so small minded that we can't see the huge benefit that teaching English to our own people has.

      • AncientAncient commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Btw theirs also a great deal of difference between what eu says your entitled to and what is delivered, healthcare or education wise (from personal experience) within the eu. The eu has never signed of its budget ever, and it's policy's are almost impossible police evenly across Europe, also mike you have a valid viewpoint as an ESOL tutor, but also a vested one ? Wages wise or is this a charitable act you undertake ?

      • AncientAncient commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        And once we diminish the benefits mentality of the native culture, which we now have to as it is unsustainable financially, how many good jobs will be vacant then ?

      • AncientAncient commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Mike they want "higher education" and "good jobs" your words not mine, of course they do who wouldn't ? It's something they can't get at home which is why they are here ? Don't you get it they're just more competition for those natives who we currently neglect who are in a state of constant struggle themselves ?

      • AncientAncient commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Btw the worry people have about integration ? We mainly seem to have segregative multiculturalism in this country even with good language skills ? most people seem to stick to their own community's in tight self serving little bundles, as a person who lives in densely urban immigrational London, from my perspective integrative multiculturalism appears to mainly have been a totally failed American philosophical import, all immigration has ever meant is more competition for the same resources, ask native islanders most anywhere, this country is more fractured and messed up than it's ever been, language skills do help people fill out claiming forms better I suppose. Well maybe I'm to cynical but I've only been made so by this non united culture we now live in. And ESOL I truly don't care any longer, we as eu citizens dont get free language lessons abroad. The comfortable house owning middle-upper class Guardian reading PC zealots who run this culture for the benefit of immigrants and their sense of moral ego, may hate this comment, but it is their constant ramming of opinion down the general poor non claiming struggling but decent portion of the population that has caused this utter contempt for all their opinions that involve how the general tax pool should be wasted.

      • AncientAncient commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        No language skills so therefore going claim benefits perpetually ! WTF is that blackmail ? to be honest the cheapest solution is for you not be here in the first place especially Somali immigrants who come from a country that is constantly holding foreign people to ransom, as far I'm concerned I have no empathy for this waste of public funds whether on the teachers or the students perhaps we could also close the millions already being spent on asylum therapy centres as well , since we seem to be giving foreign immigrants free therapy too, something a native has to practically commit suicide to be realised as being in a psychologically difficult place on the nhs ! Yes it's important for immigrants to learn the language where they forcefully decide to try and live , but I think they should pay for their own lessons, or the the more advanced English speakers amongst them tutor charitably the others and stop asking for handouts, this country owes 4.8 trillion and can ill afford anything regardless of what the government appears to spend ?

      • Mike DavenportMike Davenport commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I'm an ESOL tutor. Yes, Jan E, if you're a British citizen and choose to live and work in an EU country they have to treat you the same as one of their own citizens so will teach you - although they'll try to avoid it! The huge ESOL cuts - started by Labour with 27% last year and continued by the ConDems with 32% this - will particularly hit non EU citizens - Somali, Afghan etc - who have come to Britain because it is fair and gives everyone a chance to improve themselves. My Somali students in Leicester have made me feel proud to be from the UK when they compare it with the treatment they've had in other countries they've been to, including other EU countries. The majority of them want to learn English to get access to higher education and good jobs as well as to understand and take part in UK society. They tell me that it is easier in the UK to be an entrepreneur than elsewhere. I've seen men and women improving their English and moving into employment, paying taxes and being part of society. But they need English to do that.

      • Jan EJan E commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hold on just a minute....while I agree that speaking English helps immigrants work and contribute fully in British society, why should the tax-payer fund English language classes? If I were to choose to live and work in Spain, Germany or another European country, would their Government pay to teach me their language? Surely if someone is going to work in a foreign country it is their responsibility to ensure they have the tools to do so. If the persons are asylum seekers and therefore, because of circumstances beyond their control, could not prepare to learn English beforehand, then I agree that help should be provided, however, economic migrants should make provision beforehand or fund a course themselves once they are here.

      • Linda HaslamLinda Haslam commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yet another example of the current government shooting itself in the foot. No money, no ESOL class, no job, perpetual benefit claimant (through no fault of their own) = drain on public funds. How stupid is that?

      • Cathy BurnsCathy Burns commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Let us make the government aware of the unintended consequences of the ESOL funding cuts particularly the disproportionate effect on women.

        This government policy is illogical and lacks any departmental joined up thinking.

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Cutting ESOL funding will have a catastrophic effect on the ESOL provisions nationally. In my college about 50% of the ESOL students receive 'non-active' (government's term) benefits. These students will have to pay a huge amount of money to study next year, which of course they cannot afford.

      • Helen NicholasHelen Nicholas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Cutting funding to the most vulerable in the UK is not a mark of a civilised society, people must be able to communicate to be able to move out of poverty and into work, cutting funding to ESOL is a huge backwards step. please fight such cuts.....

      • Helen NicholasHelen Nicholas commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        please fight the government cuts to ESOL; it is vital people can speak English to be able to participate in our society in the UK

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