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Teachers to lobby MPs over 'perverse' cuts to English languages courses

12 October 2015

Teachers and students will lobby Westminster MPs on Wednesday 14 October over 'perverse' cuts to English language courses.

Funding for a £45m programme of English courses for foreign language speakers, run with Jobcentre Plus, was cut in July. UCU says the impact of that decision is being felt across the country through cuts to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses and job losses.

Bradford College has already announced it will cut one-third of its ESOL classes with the loss of nine jobs. Brent Adult and Community Education Service is axing two-fifths of its ESOL courses, leading to the loss of five jobs.

Two-thirds of courses will go at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, where 25 jobs will be lost, while Hackney Community and Tower Hamlets colleges say their ESOL courses are not guaranteed to run after Christmas.

The lobbyists will meet at 12 noon in Parliament Square for a photo. The lobby will be held in Committee Room 10, from 1-3pm. Speakers include UCU President Liz Lawrence and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Diane Abbott.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It's perverse to make such an enormous cut to English language courses, particularly at a time when we are expecting more migrants to come to this country.

'Our message for politicians is that it's very important that people are given the opportunity to learn English. There are waiting lists for these courses because refugees, asylum-seekers and others want to improve their English to give themselves a better chance of getting work and fully participating in British society.'

The lobby has been organised by campaign group, Action for ESOL, in conjunction with UCU's London region.

Last updated: 10 December 2015