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English for Speakers of Other Languages

Volume 541: debated on Wednesday 29 February 2012

Together with my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Member for Hazel Grove (Andrew Stunell), I would like to update the House following my statement I made on 18 July 2011, Official Report, columns 59-60WS, on the provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training.

The written statement of 18 July 2011 stated that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills would work with the Department for Communities and Local Government to consider additional ESOL provision for learners with no, or extremely poor, levels of spoken English, who are not in or currently actively seeking employment, and are unable to afford course fees.

We are therefore pleased that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will make available up to £10 million in the 2011-12 academic year to support this additional English language training. Funding is now being offered to further education colleges and training providers in areas facing significant integration challenges to support the delivery of English language training.

As set out in “Creating the Conditions for Integration”, published on 21 February, we believe that being able to communicate in English is vital for an individual’s personal advancement, and central to creating strong and integrated communities.