Supporting the vulnerable

5th October 2007 at 01:00

Your article stating that the number of immigrants learning English has "collapsed" due to the introduction of fees ("Fees policy hits Esol enrolment", September 28) paints a misleading picture of our new funding strategy.

Enrolment on English for Speakers of Other Languages courses for the new term is still under way and full enrolment data will not be available until December. Immigrants need not be priced out of the market. The demand for Esol is huge, but we don't have unlimited money. The new policy will ensure funds support the most vulnerable groups, as identified by the Race Equality Impact Assessment. Funding is designed to free up courses for these hard-to-reach and excluded learners and cut long waiting lists.

Migrant workers who are earning money and benefiting from English-classes should pay a contribution to their learning. For learners paying fees, the Government still contributes at least 62.5 per cent of the cost of a course.

I will be launching the new Esol for Work qualifications on October 16. Courses will be shorter and more work-focused and will enable learners and employers to get the English skills they need quickly.

Bill Rammell

Minister for lifelong learning, further and higher education

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today