Published: 30 Mar 2022  |  Category: Education  |  Stage: We have welcomed a family

ESOL Childcare Fund

As you welcome and support families into your communities, one of the key areas of focus will be the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. Adult members of the family are required to attend eight hours of ESOL classes per week. We realise that physically attending these classes isn’t always easy – and even more so if you have young pre-school children and limited access to free or affordable childcare.

In recognition of the fact that delays to language learning can significantly impact on the integration and self-sufficiency of families (particularly, women in families), the government has renewed the ESOL Childcare Fund for 2023/2024 and is now inviting bids. For 2023-24, £1.8 million has been allocated to support projects and expenditure which can enable refugees to participate in English language training. Community Sponsorship groups are encouraged to apply for this funding in order to allow the parents of young children to access childcare facilities so that they can more easily attend ESOL classes. The fund is also open to Local Authorities and SMPs (and the Department of Education in Northern Ireland).

Community Sponsorship groups can welcome families through the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS). For this reason, the Home Office has allocated a funding pot of £600,000 per each resettlement scheme, specifically for ESOL childcare (separate funding has also been allocated for families who arrived into the UK through the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme).

Following a review of the funding, the government has made some changes to increase access to this fund and the ease of using it:

• There will be 4 bidding rounds throughout the year to allow maximum flexibility.
• The eligibility criteria has been expanded to allow for more flexible use, and to help address barriers, other than childcare, to accessing ESOL.
• They have revised and streamlined bidding and claims forms to simplify the bidding and claiming process.

Community Sponsorship groups are asked to submit project bid proposals, explaining how much they need in funding and what it would be used for. Once a group’s bid proposal is accepted, then your group will be awarded a percentage of the requested funds. The Home Office will assess bids and share the details of awarded funds with Local Authorities, including guidance on claiming. The deadline for the first bidding round is 29 May 2023. There will be further opportunities to submit bids throughout the year based on the following deadlines: 29 August 2023, 29 November 2023 and 29 February 2024.

For further information on the funding eligibility criteria, please see the below attachment ‘ESOL Childcare Fund Assessment Criteria’ and ‘ESOL Childcare Fund FI’. In addition, please find below the ‘ESOL Childcare Fund Bidding Template’, which your group may use to apply for the funding.

Any queries regarding the ESOL Childcare Fund can be directed to [email protected]


ESOL Childcare Funding Assessment Criteria-23-24 [30.9KB] Download .DOCX

ESOL Childcare Funding Bidding Template 23-24 [40.8KB] Download .DOCX

ESOL Childcare Fund FI 23-24 [28.7KB] Download .DOCX