LEAH responds to Government Green Paper on Integrated Communities
Learn English at Home is proud to share lessons with Government as the national strategy for supporting integrated communities is developed. We have responded to the Green Paper consultation highlighting the way in which LEAH's model brings communities together and provides vital first-step language support for those otherwise excluded from ESOL lessons.
Page 11 of the Strategy Green paper identifies that to “achieve integration, and make the most of the opportunities on offer, recent migrants should learn to speak and understand our language and values and seek opportunities to mix and become part of our communities. And residents, in turn, need to support them in doing so”. This exactly describes Learn English at Home’s model, which enables local residents to support isolated immigrants who would not otherwise be able to access language support.
LEAH’s model also resonates with key issues in ESOL provision identified in the Green Paper:
- There is currently too little provision at early stages of learning English in settings in which learners feel comfortable. LEAH’s home-based model allows clients who are less able to leave the home access to English language teaching in a secure setting.
- Opportunities to learn English need to be tailored to meet the different needs of learners, with different motivations, starting points and levels of confidence. LEAH’s trained volunteers provide bespoke learning plans for clients.
- Personal learning pathways should include a range of opportunities, including opportunities for conversation, non-formal and formal provision. At LEAH we offer clients a range of services, including 1:1 home-based support, small-group classes designed on evidence of need and gaps in local provision, and social events and trips to practise English and develop networks. We have strong relationships with local colleges and other ESOL providers, and work with clients from the start to focus on their transitions to other ESOL classes, volunteering and college.
- An integrated Britain is one where people, whatever their background, live, work, learn and socialise together. Learning English is a crucial part of this, but LEAH’s work also directly brings diverse elements of the community together, enabling local volunteers to help new arrivals gain language skills and learn about their local community. 89% of our volunteers say that as a result of their involvement in LEAH they have a greater awareness of the challenges facing different groups in the community.
In our response, we also highlighted the work of Kingston's ESOL strategic group in improving the local ESOL offer. This is a group of local partners who meet regularly to share information about services, opportunities for staff and clients, and inter-agency referrals.
Members of the strategic group include: Independent Yemen Group, Islamic Resource Centre, Learn English at Home, Kingston College (Foundation Learning), Kingston Adult Education, Kingston Interpreting Service, Kingston Job Centre, Refugee Action Kingston, Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College and the Royal Borough of Kingston. This collaboration has improved ESOL provision for learners in Kingston, through improving the coherence of our joint offer and supporting more informed referral pathways. Members of the group have also collaborated in bringing significant income into the Borough for joint ESOL projects. We strongly advocate for such collaborations, and resources to support them.