English Language: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th January 2018.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans she has to work with English as Second Language providers to ensure that refugee women with child caring responsibilities are able to access classes.

Photo of Anne Milton Anne Milton Minister of State (Education), Minister for Women

In 2016/17, the Department for Education supported 114,100 adult learners, including refugees, to improve their levels of English through fully and part-funded English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses. 67% of these learners were women. These courses were funded through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), which also provides additional support for all learners, including refugee women, who face specific financial hardship, which can be used to cover childcare costs, for those aged 20 years or over on the first day of learning.

The government has made available £10 million for additional English language training and support for refugees resettled under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme to help them integrate into British society. This is jointly funded by the Department for Education and the Home Office. A proportion of the additional ESOL funding (25%) can be used to increase ESOL infrastructure and future participation rates, including supporting activities that help overcome accessibility barriers, such as the provision of childcare facilities.

In addition, all families in England, including refugees, with children aged 3 and 4 are eligible for 15 hours a week of free early education. Since September 2017 working parents of 3 and 4-year olds, including refugee parents, are also eligible for an additional 15 hours of early education, provided they meet certain income criteria.

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