Published: 17 Nov 2021  |  Category: Language  |  Stage: We are writing our application

ESOL in Scotland

Find out what support is available for adults arriving in Scotland to support them in learning English

There is a strong framework of practice, legislation and policy to support ESOL provision for refugees in Scotland. Education is a devolved matter, English for Speakers of other Languages are the responsibility of the Scottish Government.

The framework includes provision for those who are not literate in their own language to access university. There are no conditions on study based around benefit claims, or right to public funds, fees are waived for asylum seekers and refugees.

ESOL courses can be accredited and non-accredited and there is a range of providers, from Local Authorities, Colleges and Further Education and Community based courses.   All Community Sponsorship groups must help the adults in the family they support access 8 hours of accredited ESOL classes per week.

However, there may be practical barriers in finding ESOL classes in the areas where refugees live. There are well-developed and recognised means for refugees and asylum seekers to access ESOL courses in main cities, however, this is not always the case and you will need to research local provision. Often in areas where resettlement has taken place there are many examples of Local Authorities providing ESOL classes themselves or in partnership with local organisations.

There is a separate system of ESOL qualifications in Scotland. As some courses are free to access, you might want to consider additional provision of ESOL via your Group members, or if local provision is not available you may need to consider private provision.

There have been a number of volunteer-led schemes, which complement formal ESOL such as Sharing Lives, Sharing Languages.

There is extensive guidance from COSLA on provision of ESOL for those arriving through the resettlement scheme which might help you prepare and plan for those you will sponsor.

A breakdown of Scottish Qualifications and equivalents can be found here in relation to ESOL levels.

Your Lead Sponsor will be able to access funding from the UK Home Office of £850 per adult to support attendance at, or provision of ESOL classes for the family you support.  Ensure that you work with your Lead Sponsor to access this funding.