The ESOL Programme
In the 2021 census it was reported that over 1,040,000 people in the UK “do not speak English well” or “at all” (ONS Census, 2021). This equates to roughly one in five adults whose main language is not English (English or Welsh in Wales). Language proficiency can significantly impact an individual’s ability to access employment, educational or social opportunities.
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Data from the Department for Education indicates that, in 2021/22, 123,730 people participated in ESOL – less than 12% of the number who identified as not speaking English ‘well’ or ‘at all’ in the 2021 census. Many speakers of ESL face systemic barriers to accessing the language support needed to improve their proficiency in English.