English language courses will deliver better deal for learners and the taxpayer
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18 July 2011 - BIS
Skills Minister John Hayes today pledged to provide more
effective, targeted help for people who face barriers to learning the
English language skills communities need.
Following the publication today of an equality impact
assessment of provision for English for Speakers of Other Languages
(ESOL) training, which he ordered, Minister Hayes announced that BIS
will work in partnership with the Department for Communities and Local
Government (DCLG) on developing new forms of support for those who need
informal, community-based learning of English.
From August this year,
national provision of full funding for ESOL courses will be focussed on
those actively seeking work on Jobseekers Allowance and Employment
Support Allowance (Work Related Activity Group). As part of a broader
move towards rebalancing the investment in skills between Government,
the employer and the learner, other eligible learners or their
employers will be expected to make a contribution towards the costs of
their ESOL course.
Minister for Further
Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes said:
“By targeting public funding
on those in greatest need, and setting higher standards for providers,
our reforms will make ESOL provision work better for learners,
employers, and taxpayers.
“We are fully funding ESOL
provision for jobseekers to help them to access work, but we will not
use the public purse to support free English language training for
individuals who have come here to take up work – companies that recruit
abroad should take responsibility for that.
“We recognise there is a
broader purpose to learning English; it can be crucial for integration
and community cohesion. We believe that through this collaboration with
the Department for Communities and Local Government we can reach those
individuals who need language skills to get on.”
Minister Hayes has asked the
Association of Colleges to advise on developing with providers an
effective methodology for targeting funds at settled communities in
which language barriers inhibit individual opportunity and community
cohesion. Given the respective work that Lord Boswell and Baroness
Sharp are leading on Adult Literacy and Colleges in Communities, the
Minister has requested that they are involved in this work.
Ministers will also devise
means to measure the quality of ESOL provision more effectively, with a
new emphasis on progression to further learning and employment.
Minister Hayes is committed to discussing measurements of quality with
Communities Minister Andrew
"We want to see a more
integrated Britain and English language skills are crucial, allowing us
all to get on and play an active part in the economic and social life
of our communities.
"A good command of English
broadens economic opportunities and helps to promote integration.
Without this skill, there is a risk of social exclusion and people
being denied the opportunity to realise their full potential."
Key measures announced today
- BIS will work in partnership with DCLG on developing new
forms of support for those who need informal, community-based learning
- Reiterating the offer of fully funded ESOL training for
jobseekers to help them gain the language skills they need to get into
- For further education colleges and training organisations,
a clearer remit to provide good quality English Language provision that
employers are willing to pay for.
Over the summer, BIS and the
Department for Communities and Local Government will work together to
establish criteria for targeted local projects that meet community
The full report, published
today, is at:
- As part of the Spending Review process the Government
assessed priorities for funding to ensure that public investment is
focused where its impact can be maximised i.e. those who would not
otherwise have access to training, and where the market failures are
strongest. This was identified as adults with poor levels of literacy
and numeracy, young adults without full level 2 or full level 3
qualifications and adults actively seeking or preparing for work.
- Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth,
published on 16 November 2010 set out the significant investment of
£3.9 billion in 2011-12 in post-19 FE and Skills in England. Over the
Spending Review period we will support the expansion of Adult
Apprenticeships; full subsidy for basic literacy and numeracy
qualifications for adults and first full level 2 and first full level 3
qualifications for young adults (19 up to 24). As part of the
Government agenda to support unemployed people into work full
Government subsidy will be payable for accredited units and full
qualifications for people in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance and
Employment Support Allowance (in the Work Related Activity Group)
depending on what they need to help them enter and stay in work. The
Government will continue to invest in training outside of areas where
full subsidy is available, but the costs will be shared between the
Government and the learner or employer. An Equality Impact Assessment
was published alongside Skills for Sustainable Growth and Investing in
Skills for Sustainable Growth.
- Adults in receipt of benefits not conditional on seeking or
preparing for work who may have had automatic full fee remission under
the previous funding eligibility rules, will now be co-funded (with
costs shared between Government and the individual) unless they qualify
under other skills entitlements.
- For ESOL this means:
- ESOL provision in the workplace will no longer receive
public funding on the basis that employers should meet the costs.
- Unless in receipt of JSA or ESA (WRAG) ESOL learners
will be co-funded. 24% of ESOL enrolments in 2009/10 paid the expected
fee contribution in full.
- In January 2011 Minister Hayes announced that he had
insisted an equality impact assessment of the impact of changes on ESOL
would be carried out and published before summer recess. This
commitment was given in Parliament.
- The assessment followed the Department’s equality impact
assessment process and has been tailored to reflect the nature of
further education and skills policy and its operating procedures. We
have drawn on two sources of published analytical information – the
Individualised Learner Record (ILR) and Labour Force Survey. The ILR is
the nationally-recognised source of data on learners in further
education in England. The assessment also took account of the
information and views offered by a wide range of organisations with an
interest, including the views expressed further education
representative bodies, learners, providers, and other advocates such as
MPs, with whom Minister Hayes has held a number of meetings. In
addition, an adjournment debate on 3 May provided further information
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BIS Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-07-18 19:20:41 in Employee Articles