Around 850,000 people in England and Wales are ‘non-proficient’ in English according to the 2011 census.

Around 850,000 people in England and Wales are ‘non-proficient’ in English according to the 2011 census. Adults with poor levels of English language skills can struggle to access education, find work, participate in their communities or support their children’s learning. This limits their life chances as well as making community cohesion more difficult and increasing demands on other public services.

We want all adults who could benefit from improving their English to have opportunities to do so. This would benefit them and their families, but also our economy, society and other public services.

Our work includes building the evidence of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) potential to have positive impacts on people’s health, employment, education and participation in communities.

In Wales, we are working to secure more integrated, coherent and effective learning opportunities in ESOL, and developing effective practice in the delivery of ESOL, focussing on approaches that secure progression and positive outcomes at national, regional, local and neighbourhood level.

Working with the Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association we co-ordinate a forum for practitioners across Wales to share practice and develop solutions for better delivery of informal and formal delivery of ESOL and the development of resources.

The forum meets quarterly and includes an annual Development Day for staff to gain insights into the latest research, thinking and developments from across the sector.

Related resources

  • Research and Reports 25 07 2022

    Adult Community Learning Impact Report 2022

    We have an ambition to create lifelong learners, to see our learners progress but also to see them become role models within their families, to be leaders in their communities, to have the tools to be happier and healthier in their own lives.
  • Projects 26 06 2020

    Volunteers, English language learners and conversation clubs

    This project was designed to research and develop new resources for volunteers and organisations supporting adult English language learners. The resources were commissioned by MHCLG and developed in partnership with Learning Unlimited.
  • Projects 19 06 2020

    Refugees New to ESOL

    Building on New to ESOL, this project aimed to help ESOL practitioners meet the needs of refugee learners with low English language proficiency.
  • Projects 12 09 2019

    Improving Language, Improving Lives

    This project was designed to support prisoners with ESOL needs, and practitioners working in the secure estate. It was developed in partnership with De Montfort University and funded by the Bell Foundation.
  • Projects 21 04 2019

    New to ESOL

    This project addressed a key challenge in Learning and Work Institute’s research into ESOL provision: how to work with learners that are just starting out.

Want to know more?

For further information about our ESOL work or to talk to us about how you can get involved, contact Kay Smith, Head of Campaigns, Development & Policy
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