Students, teachers and supporters are welcome to The Centre, (opposite the
Hippodrome, by the fountains) as part of the Action for ESOL day of
action, see http://actionforesol.org/events.
Bristol is partly such a great city because of its diversity. Lets all
stand together and celebrate the importance of English classes, for our
jobs, our lives and for the wider community.
This is the latest in a series of attacks to the already limited services
that migrants and asylum seekers can access.
More information about the cuts;
Government cuts in ESOL funding could devastate language provision for
people who don’t speak English as their first language.
Currently, ESOL classes are free to students in receipt of a range of
benefits, including Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax
Credits, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Benefit. But from September
2011, only those getting JSA and some receiving the new Employment Support
Allowance, will be entitled to free classes.
National surveys show that over 50% of students and in some areas as many
as over 70% currently studying on free courses will be expected to pay
because they will not fall within the new rules. This includes people in
low waged employment, spouses of people receiving benefit and asylum
Funding for ESOL programmes has been cut by 50% over the last three years.
The cost of classes is expected to rise to around £900 a year.
Campaigners warn that this will price many students out of learning
Campaigners have argued that these new measures discriminate in particular
against women, who make up over half of current ESOL students. They argue
further that it will make it more difficult for those who don’t speak
English as their first language to find sustainable employment, access
services, support their children in schools or to participate in society.
They point out that many migrants bring important skills and experience to
the UK and are keen to contribute to the society.
As a result of these cuts, the government will have pay more for
interpreters, whilst non-English speakers will find themselves caught in a
trap of low-waged, insecure work.
Campaigners are angry that the Government has not carried out a credible
assessment of the impact of these proposals, and the likely effects on
individuals and the wider community. Rather, the Government seem to have
the view that migrants simply come to the UK, learn the language and go
A spokesperson for Action for ESOL said:
“We are calling on the Government to rethink this disastrous policy. It
will leave many people without the opportunity to learn English. It
contradicts every statement the government make about the importance of
migrants learning English”
ESOL teachers and students have declared 24th March to be a Day of Action
to protest against the Government’s policies on ESOL. There will rallies,
marches and events all over England.