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Written Question
English Language: Education
Monday 1st August 2022

Asked by: Lord Rosser (Labour - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure equal access to English for Speakers of Other Languages support.

Answered by Baroness Barran - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The department recognises that language skills are crucial to help people integrate into life in England, as well as to break down barriers to work and career progression.

We fund adults through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) for courses and qualifications, so that they can be confident they have the English language skills they need.

Currently, approximately 60% of the AEB is devolved to 9 Mayoral Combined Authorities and delegated to the Mayor of London acting through the Greater London Authority. These authorities are responsible for the provision of adult education and allocation of the AEB in their local areas. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responsible for the remaining AEB in non-devolved areas, where colleges and training providers have the freedom and flexibility to determine how they use their AEB to meet the needs of their communities.

Learner eligibility for public funding for education and training for adults, including English for Speakers of other Languages, is set out in the ESFA AEB Funding Rules for the 2021/22 funding year, which is available at:

Written Question
Immigrants: English Language
Monday 30th October 2017

Asked by: Lord Rosser (Labour - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that UK nationals can meet the English language proficiency threshold that has been set for non-UK nationals seeking permanent residency.

Answered by Lord Agnew of Oulton

The department is supporting adults in England to ensure they have the English language skills for life and work.

Adults in England who do not have a Level 2 qualification in English are eligible for free courses up to, and including, Level 2 in English literacy. Adults in England are also eligible for fully or co-funded courses to help them learn English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), depending on their employment status. Funding is available for ESOL courses and qualifications up to Level 2. In 2016/17, the department supported 536,700 adults to improve their English skills through literacy courses and 114,400 through ESOL courses.

Since 2013, the Department for Communities and Local Government has invested £12 million to support 54,000 isolated adults to learn English in community settings at pre-entry level, focusing on women with no or very little English who are unlikely to access classes in more formal settings.

The English language proficiency level for non-UK nationals seeking permanent residency or applying to naturalise as British citizens is set at B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This is equivalent to an ESOL Entry Level 3. Detailed Immigration Rules can be accessed here at the below web link or via the attached document.