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English for Speakers of Other Languages - A Critical Exploration of Practice, Policy and Language Ideology

Dr James Simpson, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

This funding will support a two-day seminar (29-30 November 2019, University of Leeds) which will explore current issues for the field of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) adult migrants in the UK learning the dominant language of their new home. It is now ten years since the end of the Skills for Life policy and with it, the withdrawal of coordination of ESOL by national government. Political rhetoric about the obligation for new arrivals to learn English has continued, whilst the field of ESOL has been hampered by a lack of coordination, direction and funding at a national scale. 2019 also makes three years since the Brexit vote: for ESOL students, continued uncertainty about their belonging ensures that they and their concerns remain central to debates around citizenship.

As the Government prepares to launch a new National Strategy for ESOL in England, the seminar poses key questions for the field in two areas: (1) How can the responsibility for coordinating ESOL provision be met, locally, regionally, and nationally? And (2) How does the field of ESOL respond to contested issues of integration, citizenship, and political belonging in uncertain times?

The seminar brings together ESOL practitioners, policy-makers, academics and other stakeholders to critically reassess the field and to generate recommendations to inform the new National Strategy for ESOL.

More information on learning English in Yorkshire and the Humber is available here

Dr James Simpson can be contacted by email: