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Section 2. Planning ESOL provision

Local Area Planning

The government’s refreshed Skills for Life strategy, Skills for Life: Changing lives and Implementing the New Approach to ESOL (DIUS 2009) describe how prioritising funding to identified ESOL learner groups is seen as crucial to achieving community cohesion, social integration and improved employability. Fast Facts – 'The New Approach to ESOL' sets out what the new approach is about, key activities and what providers need to do and consider in response.

Central to provider planning is the ‘Local Area ESOL Action Plan’ drawn up by your local authority which details the ESOL priority groups and partnership plansThe East Riding of Yorkshire Local Area ESOL Action Plan is an example from one local authority

Planning your provision

Improving quality provides access to a comprehensive collection of resources, including those which can support your planning and self-assessment.

Provider examples

East Riding of Yorkshire Adult Education Service
This ESOL Quality Improvement Plan sets out how the organisation intends to move towards excellence.

South Devon College
This example from a grade one provider shows how the college developed its own action plan in the light of the new approach to ESOL.


ESOL provision is publicly funded through the Skills Funding Agency for eligible learners. Check with the Skills Funding Agency for current funding information.

Funding may also be available from other sources, such as Adult and Community Learning (ACL), Family Learning, Train to Gain, or European Integration Fund.

Agency Funding Guidance 2010/11 – Learner Eligibility Guidance gives information about learner eligibility for government funded provision.  

New providers can find out how to register on the ‘Qualified Provider Framework’ by going to the Skills Funding Agency’s New Provider’s page.

A New Approach to ESOL: possible sources of funding  provides information on other funding streams. See also the European Integration Fund.

ESOL qualifications

ESOL learners are expected to study for nationally recognised ESOL qualifications in ESOL classes, or ESOL for Work qualificationsif they are learning ESOL in the workplace.