An EFA teacher and students participate in an ESOL class

ESOL stands for English for Speakers of Other Languages, and is the English language education for adult migrants in the UK.

The classes are generally provided by Further Education Colleges and local authorities but there are also a large number of the third sector and private sector providers. The government funds ESOL for some students but many people have to pay.

There are official ESOL exams, a core curriculum and standard resources called “Skills for Life” materials, but these have not been updated for a long time and are not that widely used. Teachers generally need to have qualifications such as a PGCE or DTLLS.

Government funding for ESOL has been cut by over 60% across the last 13 years. In the past, free classes were available for more or less anyone who needed them. Now, only some students qualify for full fee remission and the fees vary a lot from institution to institution. There is a campaign called Action for ESOL which aims to promote ESOL, stop the cuts and improve the quality of provision.

In this section you can learn about our approach to teaching ESOL, how to join a class, and see our resources and toolkits.