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Language funding announced

14 December 2017

Responding to an announcement by the Prime Minister of a £20 million language fund for Muslim women who are unable to speak English, Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “We share the Prime Minister's determination to promote integration but his plans to promote the learning of English need to encompass all communities, as well as focusing on women mainly from the Muslim community. This latest funding announcement does not make up for a 50% (£160 million) reduction in the funds available for teaching English for speakers of other language (ESOL) courses between 2008 and 2015. "It is good news that the Government has protected the adult education budget in cash terms for the next four years but recent spending cuts have had an impact on the number of people learning English in our further education colleges with approximately 2,000 fewer women attending ESOL courses in the last year. “Colleges will work with national and local government to support all communities to access English language courses at FE colleges as a means of helping them to integrate in society, to get into employment and to move off welfare benefits. Many high-level professionals come to this country but their language skills mean they are held back from offering their vital skills to the economy.”