The purpose of questions 3.4f-j of the application is for you to demonstrate that you have a sufficient understanding of ESOL options available in your area and that you are prepared to seek and budget for alternative ESOL tuition options if necessary. The adult refugees (18+) you support will be required to attend eight hours of accredited ESOL lessons per week. When possible, many Groups prefer to utilise their local colleges that offer ESOL tuition free to refugees, however, due to different factors such as high demand for classes and the need to register at the beginning of the term, you may need to seek alternative options so it’s important to show that you have researched all ESOL options available to your Group. Find out more information to help you answer these questions in our ESOL for Group Leaders resource.
If you are a Community Sponsorship Group based in Scotland, you may find our guide on ESOL in Scotland useful.
Asking the following questions to ESOL providers will help you formulate answers to questions 3.4f-g and h that address different types of ESOL provision, ensuring ESOL requirements are met and monitoring progress.
When contacting colleges:
- What is the registration process for new students?
- How often is new enrolment available?
- Can new students join classes after the term begins?
- Are classes during the day or at night for entry level?
- How many hours per week can refugees attend classes at the college?
- How does the college monitor progress?
- Is childcare available at the college for ESOL students?
- Are they aware if places will be available around the estimated time of arrival of the refugee family?
When it is not possible to rely on colleges for ESOL tuition or the college cannot offer the full eight hours per week, your Group will need to make alternate arrangements. Even if you are confident that the refugees you support will have a place at the local college regardless of when they arrive, you should research alternative options.
For ESOL volunteers:
- Do you have a valid ESOL teaching certification?
- How many hours per week can you realistically pledge to teach English?
- Are you available during the day while children attend school?
- Are you willing to provide lessons with a baby present?
- How will progress be monitored?
Remember that your Local Authority can claim for £850 per refugee accessing ESOL classes, whether delivered by your Group or a local provider – find out more about this in our available sources of funding resource.
How will you provide additional conversational English language support? (3.4h)
Learning English won’t just happen in the classroom. Using and practicing English in everyday life will be essential for the refugees you are supporting, and Groups have provided this in a number of ways; setting up conversation cafes (sometimes these are women or men only), providing social activities and opportunities such as meeting a member of the family in a local café, or organising outings with other people of the same age. In your application, you should outline how you will provide this essential informal practice.
3.4i. How will ESOL progress be monitored?
Most colleges and adult education providers regularly measure progress of their students to see if they are ready to progress to the next level. Build a good relationship with the provider you’re going to be using for the formal ESOL and they will help you meet this requirements. They will also be able to tell you if the refugees you support need any extra help, which in turn can inform informal ESOL your Group will be providing.
3.4j. If the adults in the resettled family you are supporting have had little or no formal education what support with basic literacy and numeracy will you provide?
A significant portion of refugees arriving in the UK not only does not know the Latin alphabet, but also has poor literacy in their own language. This presents a challenge when learning a new language, especially as many English classes for beginners are very text based. Some colleges and adult education providers are used to working with students with low literacy – find out what your local providers can offer, and if you have a choice, which one offers most support. When you will be allocated a family and receive the personal data of the refugee family the Resettlement Registration form will indicate the level of education and literacy each adult has. If you are going to be supporting adults with low literacy consider identifying someone to do 1 to 1 support outside of regular ESOL provision to speed up their progress.