A lot hangs in the balance over the government’s Brexit negotiations. Amid the furore over blue passports, the size of Toblerones and just how much money is going back to the NHS, occasionally, the human cost has gone unnoticed, or unremarked upon.
The latest wrinkle to be highlighted comes from Natecla (the National Association for Teaching English and other Community Languages to Adults), which has written to ministers and civil servants to ask them about the future for courses on English for speakers of other languages (Esol).
In particular, it is seeking clarification around the funding of courses and EU learners after Brexit, including what would happen in a “no deal” scenario.
Ian Wollington, head of universal skills at City Lit, an adult education college in central London, says the FE sector’s staff and students’ need “urgent information to allow essential English and Esol teaching provision to be maintained after Brexit”.
“Learners who have formed part of our collective may soon be noticeable only by their absence, and this loss will be felt bitterly,” he says.
And, he adds, he’s not feeling optimistic about the future. “Esol students and staff need a commitment to continued funding of all our present and future EU learners. Unfortunately, from an Esol perspective, I am not sure that is looking a likely prospect.”