Submission to the Government Review of Post-16 Qualifications at Level 2 and below in England

In this submission on September 2022, The Bell Foundation reiterated our request to fund ESOL at entry levels (including sub levels 1, 2 and 3) as well as levels 1 and 2. We also reiterated our request to develop national standards and set broad core content at level 1 for 'Personal and social development', 'Employability skills', and 'Independent living and life skills'.

We recommended that the Department of Education:

  • Considers extending the eligibility criteria for the Lifetime Skills Guarantee to include ESOL from entry level up to level 2, which would allow for people who use ESL to have the funds and time to progress through ESOL levels and achieve a proficiency in English for skilled employment.
  • Extends eligibility of the National Skills Fund to include ESOL qualifications below level 2 and additional sector-specific language support in combination with level 3 qualifications. The possibilities to make training under the National Skills Fund accessible to people who use ESL could be:
    • To include ESOL at levels 1 and 2 as fully funded courses under the National Skills Fund;
    • To extend eligibility to include English language learning support alongside level 3 qualifications such as apprenticeships or vocational qualifications.
  • Develops, trials and conducts a robust evaluation of ESOL embedded with apprenticeships or T Levels to understand whether this improves accessibility, and education and employment outcomes for young people who speak languages other than English.
  • Pilots ESOL transition programmes which are integrated with other transition programmes, such as employability, vocational study and life skills.