NIACE, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, established an inquiry into English for speakers of
other languages (ESOL) to contribute a fresh look at the issues.
ESOL provision is critically important to the UK. It is essential to help secure social inclusion and help build stable and successful communities, and it underpins current policy on citizenship and settlement. It is also critical to policies on skills. There will not be enough young people coming on to the labour market to meet all the demands for new and changed skills which are foreseen.
The shortfall will have to be met by retraining adults and by migrants. Skills acquisition by both these groups has to be underpinned by good ESOL provision. But the impact of effective ESOL provision goes wider than this. Language skills are also critical to the success of a range of other key government policies, including the child poverty agenda, health, sustainable communities, regeneration, and community integration and cohesion, including refugee integration.