Cllr Sonia Winifred has written to London’s Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Matthew Ryder, calling for him to ensure ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) is well resourced for Lambeth.
ESOL was included in the first ever Skills and Adult Education Strategy, Skills for Londoners, which Mayor Sadiq Khan launched earlier this year.
Lambeth Council launched its own Equalities Commission in 2016 which sought to identify and recommend ways to combat inequalities in our borough.
A recommendation from the commission was to seek additional support for ESOL provision in order to support migrant groups’ employability skills, and, progression in work. In addition, improving ESOL provision was a commitment in the manifesto that the Lambeth administration was elected on in the May local elections.
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Sonia Winifred, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, said: “Access to language learning remains a key barrier for many Londoners for entering and advancing in the job market as well as engaging with social and community life.
“ESOL is a key way we can combat inequality in our borough and we need a commitment from City Hall to ensure access for ESOL is a key priority.”
A quarter of Lambeth households have a language other than English as their first language. We have an expansive ESOL provision, commissioned by the council across our Adult Learning Services, in our libraries and in our children’s centres, as well as the ESOL classes offered by the voluntary sector.
Cllr Winifred is working with voluntary groups including Lambeth Citizens and English for Action to ensure that ESOL provision reaches those who need it the most.
The council has recently applied to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Integrated Communities English Language Co-ordination Fund which would provide short-term support to ESOL provision.
With the devolution of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) to the Mayor next year, Cllr Winifred has asked the Deputy Mayor to ensure that ESOL is adequately funded and that there is a coordinated strategy across London.