Community cohesion and ESOL

Being a confident communicator in English is vital to help people integrate with their local community, and access health, learning and employment opportunities.

esol.jpgThe most recent census data from 2011 shows that 863,000 people in England and Wales are ‘non-proficient’ in English - 726,000 can’t speak English well and 138,000 can’t speak English at all.

People with low levels of English are more likely to report worse health and are three times more likely to have no educational qualifications. Of those who are employed, people with low levels of English are twice as likely to work in lower skilled jobs as those with high English proficiency.

Current demand for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision is far greater than supply. As a result, people who want to learn English are regularly being turned away, losing out on the skills that would help them integrate into their local community and improve their life prospects.

863,000 people in England and Wales are ‘non-proficient’ in English
Only 65% of those who said their English was poor reported good health (compared with 88% of those with high English proficiency)
People with low levels of English are twice as likely to work in lower skilled jobs

Good Things Foundation’s belief that everyone should have the opportunity to participate fully in society means that our work often focusses on those who face profound barriers. This includes people who have little or no English language skills, which can make it very difficult for them to navigate British society and integrate with their wider communities.


Our ESOL projects take place in the areas of highest language need, working through our Specialist ESOL Network to provide learning directly at the heart of communities. We’ve seen greater confidence in our learners after completing our ESOL programme, as well as reduced social isolation, increased independence, and benefits to their health and family lives.

We know that successful ESOL programmes also save costs to the public purse in welfare and health, adding a skills boost to the economy and creating a better integrated and more socially cohesive society. That’s why we’re dedicated to continuing supporting ESOL learning through our network, and the English My Way website.

Learners in our English My Way programme reported improved self-confidence in using English with acquaintances (65%), in public (68%), and with doctors (61%).

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