Stephen Exley

Provision for Esol courses ‘nowhere near enough’

Funding cuts have resulted in longer waiting times and fewer participants

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The importance of immigrants who come to the UK being able to speak English is agreed across the political spectrum. What is more contentious, however, is who should pay for English for speakers of other languages (Esol) provision.

During the last six years, funding available for Esol through the Department for Education’s skills budget has dropped by £113 million. The estimated £90 million budget for 2015-16 stood at 44 per cent of the £203 million that was available in 2009-10. Accordingly, participation fell during the same period, from almost 180,000 to around 110,000.

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