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English Language Provision Gives ‘Serious Cause For Concern’

Key Documents
Skills for Life Network

Key findings from an independent inquiry led by NIACE

A shortage of teachers coupled with inadequate provision that is not well planned and is of patchy quality are all contributing to the enormous problems facing the provision of English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) for adults. These are the key findings of an independent inquiry, led by NIACE, which published its final report on the 3rd of October 2006.

The final report, "More than a language…", demonstrates that, at a time when demand for ESOL is rising and, despite very significant investment, there is serious cause for concern. Funding is not always well targeted to those in greatest need and the quality of provision is worryingly patchy with too much sub-standard provision.

To address this situation the committee of inquiry makes 39 recommendations to the Government and its funding partners. Uppermost amongst these recommendations are the need for:

  • a fundamental cross-government review of ESOL as part of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review;
  • the delivery of ESOL to be co-ordinated across the full range of government policies and the full range of providers;
  • more ESOL provision to be targeted on the world of work;
  • a coherent package of activities to address the most significant quality issues;
  • building on the progress made on ESOL teacher qualifications and to improve teacher supply and quality; and
  • increasing the range of funding sources available.

To view a summary of the report and to purchase a full copy, visit the NIACE website.

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