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Locked Out of Learning – Refugee Action Briefing Paper

A snapshot of ESOL in the UK

Key findings

  • Several providers reported refugees waiting over a year for English lessons – and in one area the wait can be up to two years.
  • Of the providers surveyed, the average waiting list size was over 700 people.
  • Some providers had waiting lists for lessons stretching to more than 1,000 people.
  • Providers say the situation is getting worse – the main reason is government cuts, with funding failing to keep pace with high demand.
  • Limited childcare provision is cited as a barrier to women being able to attend classes.
  • Some providers have been forced to cut the number of ESOL hours offered by over half in recent years.
  • Due to unmanageable numbers, certain providers have stopped taking new applicants for the first time in recent memory in order to cope with the backlog.

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