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‘Integration not Demonisation’

August 31, 2017

The All Party Parliamentary Group report on Social Integration ‘Integration not Demonisation’ was published on the 27th August 2017. Section 4 of this report is of special interest to ESOL practitioners since it deals with the importance of linguistic integration of adult migrants. The discussions in other sections are various, and primarily cover the roles of central and regional authorities in developing opportunities for employment, education generally, citizenship training and social integration

Section 4 is entitled: Building a Britain in which everyone can speak English

Here are some key extracts. They are wide ranging, but even if only partially implemented would have a tremendous affect on the ESOL landscape in the UK – clearly for the better for our communities and newcomers to our communities as well as the needs of employers and the wider economy.

  • Ministers should develop a new strategy for the promotion of English language
    learning reflecting the guiding principle that no one should be able to live in our
    country for a considerable length of time without speaking English.
  • The ability to speak English should be viewed as a right extended to everyone in our society no matter what their background or income level.
  • In order to break down cultural barriers to English language learning, the government should introduce a requirement that immigrants arriving in the UK without the ability to speak the language should be enrolled on ESOL classes. These programmes should, additionally, be used so as to provide new arrivals with an understanding of national and local customs, traditions and British values.
  • The government should conduct an extensive consultation including immigrants and ESOL programme providers in order to explore what topics these cultural orientation courses should cover as well as how the requirement for newcomers with no English to attend them should be enforced.
  • The government’s new English language strategy must include a degree of direct
  • investment in language classes reflecting both the scale of the challenge we face
    in building a Britain in which everyone speaks English and the level of importance
    attached to this project by Britons across the political spectrum.
  • Policymakers should introduce an income-contingent advanced learning loan system for English language programmes, through which programme participants could defer payments until they begin to earn a salary above a certain threshold – enabling  immigrants, including those who are unemployed, to undertake training with no or little upfront cost.
  • The government’s national strategy for the promotion of the English language should  be shaped so as to support the growth of vocationally-focused ESOL programmes aimed at providing immigrants with a grounding in appropriate industrial language and unlocking skills learned abroad.
  • Ministers should set out plans to amend existing vocational courses commonly
    accessed by migrants, such as the NVQ in social care, to include a greater focus on
    English language learning.
  • Policymakers should offer employers financial incentives for the provision of in-work ESOL programmes. This should include the introduction of a quality mark to recognise employers which effectively support English language learning. Policymakers should, in addition, explore whether employers which demonstrate a substantive commitment to language training might be made entitled to employer National Insurance Contribution discounts.
  • In recognition of the diverse experiences and language training needs of individual
    immigrants and of distinct demographic groups, the government should design its
    English language strategy so to promote ESOL programmes of a range of styles and
    forms – including both college and community-based schemes.
  • Policymakers should explore where there is a need for an ‘intermediate offer’ aimed at language learners who have participated in a community-based programme but aren’t yet ready to progress to a college-based course.
  • The government should outline plans for the increased provision of non-formal
    language learning schemes which enable immigrants to practice their English through conversing with members of their host community.
  • Its English language strategy should include measures aimed at drawing more
    volunteers into language learning programmes – including in order to serve as teaching assistants within formal ESOL courses and to participate in non-formal schemes.
  • A central plank of the government’s national strategy for the promotion of the English language should comprise of plans to integrate the provision of ESOL with that of other public services, including children’s centres and schools.
  • Ministers should introduce a new statutory duty on local authorities to co-ordinate and optimise ESOL provision in their areas – sign-posting learners to suitable provision and facilitating a positive dialogue between language training providers.
  • The government’s English language strategy should set out rigorous national
    standards and ambitious area-by-area targets for ESOL provision.
    The government should grow and maintain a varied ESOL delivery landscape
    incorporating national charities in addition to the local organisations and colleges which will continue to form the bedrock of language training provision. To this end, its English language strategy should include measures recognising the enhanced capacity for low-cost provision, innovation and quality assurance of larger delivery organisations.
  • The government should make funding available for charities and community
    groups in selected areas of the country to pilot a series of ‘language of citizenship’
    initiatives. Through these civic engagement programmes, groups of immigrants with language learning needs would design and deliver social action projects in their local communities alongside volunteers drawn from the settled population.
  • ESOL programme providers in receipt of public funding should be required to build
    curriculum elements designed to celebrate modern British values and freedoms,
    including the right to marry someone of the same sex, into their courses.
  • Policymakers should create incentives for ESOL programme providers, technology firms and academics to collaborate on the development of new approaches to language learning incorporating digital tools, apps and massive open online courses (MOOCs).



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