ESOL Programme Partnerships

The Bell Foundation is developing a new ESOL Programme which will include investment in projects and partnerships which improve outcomes for ESOL learners. The Programme will focus on young people aged 16 to 25 and migrant workers, including refugees and asylum seekers.

Working in partnership, the Foundation will test and trial ESOL approaches which will improve retention, progression and access to additional training and employment. In partnership, the Foundation will work to convene local and national stakeholders in ESOL, provide monitoring and evaluation support.

Aims of the ESOL Programme partnerships

Projects would aim to address one or multiple elements of the below:

  • Enable ESOL learners to access further education or employment opportunities either simultaneously or consequentially
  • Increase participation in ESOL learning for hard to reach groups
  • Increase progression from lower to higher level ESOL
  • Improve retention figures for learners
  • Understand how to use different approaches, such as digital, effectively in teaching ESOL, considering the Covid-19 pandemic

Expectations of the partnerships

The Foundation is interested in exploring partnerships which:

  • Develop partnerships with local refugee groups, and other community organisations who support refugees and migrants, local or combined authorities, colleges and Local Enterprise Partnerships
  • Evaluate existing ESOL provision in order to identify and share good practice
  • Gather insights into the needs and motivations of ESOL learners in urban and rural areas
  • Gather insights into the needs of the local community and businesses in terms of ESOL skills gaps
  • Develop, test and evaluate ESOL approaches to meet the needs of local ESOL learners and the community

The Foundation is interested in transferring trial approaches from other areas of education and adult learning into ESOL, recognising that learners may need to have other needs met in order to meaningfully engage in ESOL provision.

The first partnership in the programme is with the Institute of Education, University College London, to investigate the attainment and progression of young people with ESOL needs. More information on this partnership can be found on the ESOL Partners page.

Additional partnership information is available on the Partner with Us page.

How to apply

The Bell Foundation uses a simple two-stage application process to make sure potential partners’ work is strategically aligned. The first stage is the submission of a two-page project brief. Shortlisted organisations will then be invited to submit a full proposal:

Stage One

Organisations interested in applying should submit a (no more than) two-page brief, as a Word document attachment, via email by 5pm, Friday 20 November 2020, outlining:

  • Organisation name or local authority name
  • Contact details
  • Why your proposed work is needed and how it aligns with the Foundation’s aims
  • What your proposed work seeks to do and who the target group is
  • A draft timeline of the work you are proposing
  • How you will know if your work has been successful
  • How the project incorporates at least one of the five key elements
  • An indicative budget of your proposed work, highlighting how much and what type of resource is requested from The Bell Foundation and how much your organisation or another partner will contribute if necessary (this can be provided in a separate document).

Please put your organisation name and “ESOL Programme Partnership” into the subject line of your submission email. Email the submission for the attention of Laura Cook, Policy and Programme Manager:

Stage Two

After an initial assessment, those potential partners which appear to make a significant contribution to the programme objectives will be invited to submit a full proposal. The deadline for the final proposal will be the week commencing 25 January 2021. Please note that the Foundation conducts due diligence on organisations before grants can be made to them. It is anticipated that the first round of grants will be awarded in March 2021.

A second round of applications for grants from the ESOL Programme will open in spring 2021.

Please email if you would like to discuss the above.