The government plans to publish a national strategy for English for speakers of other languages (Esol) in the autumn. This would help support people to improve their English skills – which "is fundamental to achieving our vision of integrated communities", it adds.
To shape what that English language strategy will look like, the government plans to "engage widely with the sector", according to the integrated communities action plan. The work on this will be cross-departmental but led by the Department for Education.
While Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already have national Esol strategies, this would mark the first time England has had its own.
The plan contains a range of cross-government measures to support the government’s commitment to building “strong integrated communities”. It builds upon the proposals set out in the Integrated Communities Strategy green paper and responses to the consultation.
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Focus on refugee learners
The action plan also pledges that the government will develop teaching resources for learners with limited literacy skills and little experience of formal education in order to support access to higher-level Esol training. New guidance on effective practice in coordinating local Esol provision to support greater join-up of different providers and types of provision is also due to be published by April, says the plan.
It adds the government will continue to work with the existing network of Esol regional coordinators to support the development and sharing of learning and best practice in English language training for refugees: “We will also invest in developing resources for ‘pre-entry’ level English language training, with a particular focus on the needs of refugee learners.”
The National Association for Teaching English and Community Languages to Adults (Natecla) said it was “delighted to hear that the government’s action plan had prioritised additional support for the Esol. sector.