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English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

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This report presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations resulting from the extensive research and consultation process followed in the study.
If English isn’t your main language, you can do a course to help you to improve your English.

These courses are called ESOL, or English for Speakers of Other Languages.

Improving your English can help you to:

  • talk to doctors and teachers
  • live your life within Wales and understand the laws and customs of the UK
  • go to college or university and get a qualification
  • get a job, or improve your job opportunities
  • pass the Life in the UK test and become a British Citizen

ESOL courses cover different skills including:

  • Speaking and listening
  • Reading and writing
  • Vocabulary, punctuation and grammar

There are courses at different levels so that you can learn in a way that is right for you. Courses are available at a number of different venues throughout Wales including local schools, community centres, colleges and in your workplace.

To find out more about what courses are available in your local area, contact your local authority or FE College who will be able to provide you with more information.

UK Border Agency Regulations

In order to apply for British Citizenship you must demonstrate your knowledge of language and life in the UK.  More information is available from the UK Border Agency website.

In June 2012 the Home Office announced a Statement of Intent with regard to Family Migration.

From October 2013 all applicants for settlement to the UK will be required to:

  1. pass the ‘Life in the UK’ tests, and
  2. present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 (Entry 3) level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempt.

An announcement on citizenship will follow, probably in the autumn. It is possible that citizenship requirements may mirror settlement requirements for English Language, but this cannot be confirmed at present.

More information can be found on the UK Border Agency website.

Review of ESOL Qualifications

It is our responsibility to ensure that qualifications are secure, fit for purpose and suitably meet the needs of a range of learners. We are looking at ESOL qualifications because their role has changed significantly in recent years to include immigration and right to reside in the UK impacts.

In spring 2013 an interim list of ‘acceptable’ qualifications will be published by the Home Office. In autumn 2013 the Home Office will hold a procurement exercise to identify a final acceptable list of pre entry and settlement English language qualifications.

Consultation on ESOL regulations

Ofqual, the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland, is currently consulting on the regulations that govern English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualifications. More information about the consultation and how to respond can be found on the Ofqual website.

The consultation will close on Monday 3rd December 2012.

Ofqual is also holding a series of free events about the consultation in November in London, Leeds and Belfast. To register for an event please email using ‘ESOL consultation’ as the subject title.

An event for Wales is being hosted by NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education) and will be held in Cardiff on 23rd October.  Further details will follow.

ESOL Development Advisory Group

An ESOL Development Advisory Group was set up in 2009 to advise the Welsh Government on issues relating to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and contribute to the development of an ESOL policy for Wales.

More information on the ESOL Development Advisory Group, including its membership and Terms of Reference can be found here.

Review of the Provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages in Wales

In 2010 the Welsh Government published research into the provision of ESOL in Wales. To read more about this review follow the related link on the right.