X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Coffee House

If Cameron wants female migrants to learn English, why did he cut ESOL funding?

18 January 2016

6:44 PM

18 January 2016

6:44 PM

David Cameron wants recent migrants to learn English, or face deportation. He argued today that too many women are denied the opportunity to speak English. And who doesn’t want women to have the freedom to learn English and play a full part in society? As an MP who represents one of the most diverse constituencies in Britain, no-one needs to tell me how important it is to engage seriously in a debate about integration. Like the Prime Minister, I want women in Leicester to learn English and in my experience, they and their families want them to learn English too.

The problem is not that Cameron wants women to learn English, but that his own record doesn’t suggest he is able to follow through on this promise. The government has spent the last five years restricting free access to, and cutting budgets for, English for Speakers of Other Languages courses. Two thirds of ESOL learners are women and they have been hit hardest by these changes.

If Cameron visited Leicester, he might meet Nevin who enrolled on an ESOL course because she wanted to find a job and move into paid employment. Hopefully he would meet Khairunissa who, like many before her, came to Leicester via Malawi and found the ESOL classes she attended not only helped her with her English but allowed her to play a full role in society. He might be moved by Fatima, who can speak and write English because of ESOL, telling us that she loves helping her children with their homework.

[Alt-Text]


In 2011 we pushed the government to publish an Equality Impact Assessment on the ESOL cuts. That report showed clearly that the changes to ESOL would have a greater impact on women, and that a reduction in ESOL provision could leave women isolated within their communities. The same conclusion was reached last summer when the Government announced the sudden and immediate withdrawal of ESOL funding. The Association of Colleges was clear: 16,000 learners across 47 colleges would be affected, with female and ethnic minority learners disproportionately so. Leicester College, a provider in my constituency, saw £1.5 million of ESOL funding removed at a stroke, without any notice, making them the second worst hit college in the country.

While David Cameron talked this morning about additional ESOL funding being used to break down the language barriers which segregate communities, the reality of the situation is very different. Since 2009 the overall Adult Skills budget that funds ESOL has been reduced by 35 percent which has led to a drop in overall ESOL participation by 22 percent since the Tories took power. 80 percent of ESOL providers have seen waiting lists rise to up to 1,000 students.

I cannot see how women like Nevin, Khairunissa and Fatima will be able to integrate into British society if the best opportunity for them to do so has been taken away.

Jon Ashworth is Labour MP for Leicester South

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close