Following delegation of the Adult Education Budget (AEB), which funds the majority of London’s ESOL provision, we have extended eligibility for AEB-funded courses to learners in low-paid work. This will unlock access to ESOL provision for many more Londoners for whom it was previously out of reach. We’re also improving the accessibility of ESOL provision by investing in learning and innovation, including through the ESOL Plus Programme and Skills for Londoners Innovation Fund.
However, our interventions can only go so far; the biggest barrier to accessing ESOL provision in London remains that demand is much greater than what can be provided by the delegated government grant. Nationally, ESOL funding has been cut by 60 per cent - nearly half a billion pounds – over the last 10 years. That’s why I am calling on the government for a new devolution and funding deal to establish an integrated, properly funded skills and employment system that can meet the city’s challenges, including demand for ESOL.