There are currently many women living in Britain who have a wealth of pre-existing skills and resources to offer, but do not have the required English language level to do so. These are the women that Heart & Parcel aims to support.
What is ESOL and why is it in trouble?
The government offers ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision which is free English classes for migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers who come to Britain and need help learning the language. Due to media sensationalist coverage on ‘migrants’ and a highly politicized discourse, the general public have been ill-informed about who comes to this country, for what reasons and the amount of provision or hand-outs they receive. This misinformation perpetuates a negative view surrounding those who require these classes. A combination of all these factors lead to funding for ESOL being insecure and unstable (Hamilton & Hiller, 2009).
As a result, waiting lists for ESOL classes are long, colleges and teaching staff feel the strain with lack of resources. Recent studies into the effects of funding cuts in this area have documented a ‘culture of fear’ and dis-empowerment amongst staff at FE colleges (O’Leary & Smith, 2012). Furthermore, current funding is gagged by strict conditions from the home office and government policies as to who can benefit from these classes.
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