UCU elections
Taking action in higher education

Campaign launch to save ESOL courses

11 January 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU is hosting a meeting on 15 January to organise a 'Save ESOL' campaign which will press government to reverse plans for cuts in funding for ESOL (English for speakers of other languages).

Pressure for a policy change is already gathering steam: 98 MPs have signed an EDM calling for the government to 'reinstate appropriate funding for ESOL learning particularly for those least able to afford to pay for their own training'.

Dozens of organisations have already signed up to express support for the initiative, including TUC, UNISON, Refugee Council, Ruskin College, Children's Society, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), NATECLA (National Association for Teaching English and other Community Languages to Adults).

Many organisations will be represented at Monday's meeting. Speakers will include Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari - Muslim Council of Britain Secretary General, Alastair Thompson of NIACE, Jack Dromey of T&G plus speakers from the Refugee Council and NATECLA.

UCU believes many more organisations will respond once the alliance of NGOs, ESOL teachers and students is established. A lobby of parliament is being planned for the near future.

The growing concern over ESOL provision is part of a wider reaction to government cuts in funding for many adult and community courses.

Paul Mackney, joint general secretary of UCU, said: 'This government is basing much of its economic success on labour from overseas. It has an obligation to provide the language lessons which enable migrants, refugees and their families to play their full part not only at work but also in society. We would encourage all those who agree with us to engage with our campaign for a ministerial rethink.'

The launch takes place at UCU's conference centre in Britannia Street, Kings Cross, London from 4pm to 6pm.