Concern is mounting rapidly over new funding restrictions on English as a Second Language. On 15 January a group of organisations : UCU, AoC, ACM, NATECLA, NIACE, Refugee Council, Unison, USDAW and others, are convening a meeting to launch a campaign for the restoration of entitlement.

Proposed Changes

  • Existing universal entitlement to free ESOL training up to level 2 removed

  • Fee remission available only to people receiving means-tested benefits and tax credits.

  • Asylum seekers aged 19+ no longer  automatically eligible for publicly funded FE provision from 2007/08;
Take-up of ESOL has risen in recent years and in many cases demand exceeds supply. UCU head of equality Roger Kline points out:

‘These changes fly in the face of the government’s stated concern for integration and social cohesion and will make life even more difficult for thousands of vulnerable people.’ 

The changes to ESOL funding mean that for many people with ESOL needs, the cost of paying for courses will shift from the public purse to individuals, unless employers make a contribution.
The DfES is currently undertaking a Race Equality Impact Assessment on the changes to ESOL funding. In a letter to Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, UCU general secretary Paul Mackney has pointed out that those more likely to be affected by the cuts are women and Black and Minority Ethnic Groups.

Building Alliances

We are now forming alliances with various organisations. With your help we intend to develop a campaign that tackles the planned changes to funding and raises the challenges that those most in need of free English language provision will face.

We have a planning meeting on January 15 2007 at UCU in Britannia Street. There will be a range of speakers and discussion about the future of the campaign. We hope that you will be able to come along and participate.

Local Activity
There are plenty of ways to get involved. You can:
  • Write to your MP, ask them to sign Early Day Motion 383 or get your MP to ask a question in parliament

  • Hold a public meeting at your college involving the community and press

  • Link up with your local refugee and community groups

  • Organise activity with your local trades council

Get your MP on board

Fifty six MPS have already signed up to the motion below.  To find out how to get in touch with your local MP, please, visit

The campaign starts here!

4-6pm, Monday 15 January, 27 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JP

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London. Invited. Speakers from various organisations AND YOU!
The ESOL Alliance

  • ACM