Southwark residents who don’t speak English as a first language are likely to get access to online information about classes, after promises made last week by the two frontrunners to be London’s next mayor.
Labour’s Sadiq Khan and the Conservatives’ Shaun Bailey responded to a campaign by the Love ESOL (English as a second language) group by committing to starting up a comprehensive website for English language learners last Wednesday, April 28.
Some waiting lists for English classes have now reached 1,000 people, according to the group. Rules about who is eligible and where to find classes can also make learning English difficult.
Adela Belecova, a Southwark-based ESOL teacher and a coordinator for the campaign, said: “For many migrants, not being able to improve their English is not only a barrier to finding good work, supporting their children and living a full life, but can also leave them vulnerable to exploitation at work.
“If we could ensure better provision of classes and information on where they are happening, as well as relax restrictions about who can attend, it would improve many lives and make London more inclusive.”
Ricardo Marceliano, an ESOL student from Southwark, said:”ESOL is important for us because it helps us improve our English and introduce us [to] the English society or community.
“There are a lot of barriers to learning English, for example is not easy to find a website with classes on the internet, free English class, it is not free for everyone, also undocumented people have a big barrier. [For] these people [it] is very complicated to have access to English class.
“Having a website with ESOL would be helpful because people can easily get information about English courses.”