Many colleges are laying on extra courses but admit they cannot cope with the demand, mainly because of shortages of teachers and accommodation. Liverpool Community College reports that 700 asylum-seekers are waiting to join English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses.
The Governmet's controversial policy of dispersing asylum-seekers means demand for ESOL has spread beyond the South-east. "We're surrounded by people clamouring for classes," said Chris Lockwood, the Newcastle College college's director of ESOL. Although ESOL tuition is free, the Refugee Council claims many asylum-seekers still miss out because they cannot afford transport to colleges as they receive vouchers in place of cash benefits.
See October edition of College Manager