I understand the concerns about support for refugees, and agree that English language funding is vital for ensuring that refugees can integrate into British society. That is why I welcome the Government’s recent green paper, which sets out an ambitious Integrated Communities Strategy with English language learning at its forefront.
The Strategy includes proposals for a new national strategy in England for English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), which will be published in autumn 2019, as well as a commitment to supporting the development and sharing of good practices in English language training for refugees.
The Government’s Integrated Communities English Language Programme and Coordination Fund also aims to address the key causes of poor integration by funding over 19,000 learner places and teaching in communities with a high proportion of adults who speak little or no English.
In addition, local authorities which settle refugee families under the Vulnerable Person Relocation Scheme or the Vulnerable Children’s Relocation Scheme are already required to ensure that these families receive English language support. £10 million in funding has been provided through to 2021 to enable local authorities to make more English language tuition available.
I am confident that the Integrated Communities Strategy, on which the Government has also held a public consultation, will not only provide greater opportunities for refugees to learn English, but also achieve the wider aim of building a strong, integrated community across the country.