English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) support

The ETF is continuing to provide support to ESOL practitioners. Alongside the general resources on the Excellence Gateway, specific resources have been created to support practitioners who are working with ESOL learners who are often referred to as being at a ‘pre-Entry’ level, who we refer to as ‘New to ESOL’ learners, including specific resources to better meet the early integration needs of refugees who are new arrivals.

ESOL Learners and Functional Skills EnglishIn December 2020 the Education and Training Foundation commissioned NATECLA to investigate the participation of ESOL learners on Functional Skills (FS) English courses. While anecdotally we knew that the number of ESOL learners accessing Functional Skills has risen dramatically, we did not have information on numbers and needs. NATECLA created a survey, to which 110 providers responded; and conducted focus groups. The report provides a wealth of detail, with three stand-out findings:

  1. Over a quarter of providers reported that ESOL learners made up more than 60% of their learners on Functional Skills courses. This applied especially to 16-19 year-olds on study programmes
  2. There is major concern in the sector that Functional Skills English courses do not meet the needs of people whose first language is not English
  3. FS English teachers do not necessarily have the skills to teach learners of ESOL

The ETF has already responded to the identified needs by creating awareness-raising CPD targeted specifically at functional skills English teachers.

For further information, please contact: jaya.varsani@etfoundation.co.uk