On Monday 15th February, EFA held an ESOL celebration event organised by learners at Surrey Square School.
Children designed an attractive banner
Guests included ESOL learners, teachers from other local ESOL classes, students’ friends and families, the Learning and Work Institute and the local MP, Neil Coyle. The English For Action community represented strongly, with over 50 students from 12 different classes around South London.
Surrey Square’s ESOL class did a brilliant job of organising the event, from writing scripts, to baking cakes. It took place at Notre Dame School, who host our Saturday morning classes. A big thanks to both schools for their enduring support of EFA and ESOL.
The class’ warm welcome
Jenny, a student from the Surrey Square class gave a speech and shared her personal insights about why ESOL is important, leaving the entire audience moved.
An extract of Jenny’s speech
Rebecca, an ESOL teacher at Lewisham Southwark College, explained the devastating impact of the cuts locally including massive waiting lists as a result of the closure of two college sites and places on courses being reduced.
Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey & Old Southwark, shared his story of overcoming adversity in his youth and his concerns about the cuts to ESOL locally and nationally.
Then, Samah, Jess and Rebecca put Neil on the spot and he committed to:
- Asking a question in Parliament about ESOL
- Speaking to Sadiq Kahn about including ESOL in his mayoral manifesto.
- Taking actions to support ESOL locally by working with the trade union Unite to start some new provision in the borough.
In addition, he invited everyone to visit Parliament, where he also agreed to host an ESOL debate. He suggested that learners send him their questions and that they might consider future political careers for themselves.
Following this, people had a selection of activities to get involved with, including writing to their MPs with ESOL questions, mapping of local ESOL classes, reading students’ ESOL stories, networking and enjoying the refreshments.
A special mention has to go to the class’ excellent bakers, Nadjia’s ESOL cake went down exceptionally well.
Watch out Great British Bake Off!
It was a lovely morning and we are looking forward to following up on Neil’s commitments and continuing to support and celebrate ESOL.