English for speakers of other languages ESOL Rally

Tagged as: cuts local_communities work
Neighbourhoods: market nottingham square

Thursday 24th March 2011

At 3.30pm staff and students of courses for 'English for speakers of other languages' gathered in the Market Square for a protest rally.

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At 3.30pm staff and students of courses for 'English for speakers of other languages' gathered in the Market Square for a protest rally.

The government are preparing to cut much of this service.  Even stranger, it had ealier pronounced that it expected imigrants to this country to have some ability with the english language as a condition of citizenship. Further, there is obviously a requirement for anyone seeking work here, to be able to speak english. Not very joined-up thinking ...... me thinks!

Earlier in the day, there had been another rally on an educational / cuts issue.  Many had attended both since there are overlaps with how all these educators are being treated. Many students came to both events to support their teachers.

University and College Union Strike & Rally

http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/1073

 

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Action for ESOL Press Release

Rally to Defend ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) March 24, 3.30pm, Market Square

ESOL Cuts Will Devastate Language Education, says Action for ESOL

ESOL teachers and students are campaigning to defend ESOL programmes. They are warning that Government cuts in ESOL funding will devastate language provision for people who don’t speak English as their first language.  

Currently, ESOL classes are free to students in receipt of a range of benefits, including Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Benefit.  Others pay subsidised fees for classes. 

But the government has proposed cuts amounting to 50% over 3 years.   From September 2011, only those getting JSA and some receiving the new Employment Support Allowance, will be entitled to free classes.  The cost of classes is also expected to rise to around £900.

In Nottingham, 76% of students do not receive JSA or ESA and are currently studying on free courses or paying subsidised fee rates.  They will be expected to pay fees for the first time or fees that are 50% to 66% higher than before. This includes people in low waged employment, spouses of people receiving benefit and asylum seekers who have £35 to £39 a week to live on. 

Campaigners warn that this will price many students out of learning English. 

Campaigners have argued that these new measures discriminate in particular against women, who make up over half of current ESOL students in Nottingham. They argue further that it will make it more difficult for those who don’t speak English as their first language to find sustainable employment, access services, support their children in schools or to participate in society.  They point out that many migrants bring important skills and experience to the UK and are keen to contribute to the society.

As a result of these cuts, the government will have to pay more for interpreters, whilst non-English speakers will find themselves caught in a trap of low-waged, insecure work.

Campaigners are angry that the Government has not carried out a credible assessment of the impact of these proposals, and the likely effects on individuals and the wider community.  Rather, the Government seems to have the view that migrants simply come to the UK, learn the language and go home.

A spokesperson for Action for ESOL said:

“It is not easy to join ESOL classes and learning a new language is always difficult for adults.  There are strict residency rules to meet before a person can join a class.  Many may then wait months because there are not enough classes. Many juggle class times with long unsocial or irregular work hours.  Many people on low wages may struggle with the current fee rates. 

We are calling on the Government to rethink this disastrous policy.  It will leave many people without the opportunity to learn English.  It contradicts every statement the government has made about the importance of migrants learning English”

ESOL teachers and students have declared 24th March to be a Day of Action to protest against the Government’s policies on ESOL. In Nottingham there will be a public meeting in the Market Square at 3.30pm. Students, friends and tutors will use placards and speakers to demonstrate the importance of English classes.  EVERYONE IS WELCOME! 

The national Action for ESOL petition will be handed in to 10 Downing St at 1.30pm. You can sign it at www.gopetition.com/petitions/defend-esol.html

Notes for the Editor:

1. The Government’s new policy is outlined in Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth and Skills for Sustainable Growth Strategy published by BIS

2. Action for ESOL is a national campaign alliance, and includes the lecturers’ union, UCU, the Refugee Council, the National Association for Teachers of English and Community Languages to Adults, trade unions and other organisations.

3. In Nottingham it is estimated that there are around 3000 to 3,500 ESOL learners in addition to 800 people currently waiting to join classes.

Contact:  Fiona Vale / Amy Gittins, 0115 978 0942, Fiona@begin.org.uk (Nottingham)

  Rebecca Galbraith, 0797 1719 797, rebecca.galbraith@yahoo.co.uk (national)

 

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English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/AdultLearning/ImprovingYourSkills/DG_10037499

 

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earlier on Thursday, another education cuts issue:

University and College Union Strike & Rally

http://nottingham.indymedia.org/articles/1073 

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ALAN LODGE 

Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham.  UK

Email:                 tash@indymedia.org

Web:                   http://digitaljournalist.eu

Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]

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"It is not enough to curse the darkness.

                                   It is also necessary to light a lamp!!"

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Email Contact email: tash@indymedia.org