Coordination of access to English language classes for adult migrants

Teacher talking to students

Professor Mike Baynham and Dr James Simpson have conducted a series of studies to identify effective practice in the teaching of English for adult migrants and the provision of learning opportunities. The findings have informed the development of efficient, responsive networks of local and regional provision that ensure that adult migrants are able to access classes of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in a timely manner.

A consistent research finding was that provision of language education opportunities for adult migrants was fragmented and difficult to navigate, contributing to delays in adults being able to access an appropriate class. The research identified the need for better co-ordination of services across providers and this directly influenced the creation of a regional resource, the Learning English Yorkshire and Humber website. This initiative supports the region’s 21 local authorities and a wide range of stakeholders and organisations working to support adult migrant language learners.

The ESOL Curriculum area manager at Leeds City Colleges explains how this resource is used in practice:

“the managers and also receptionists use this website ... we will refer the students to the website, we’ll go through it with them as well and see what classes are on offer”

The initiative is part of a broader programme of work carried out by the Migrant English Support Hub (MESH), a charity set up by James Simpson, informed by the Leeds research. This includes lobbying for a national level strategy for English language education for adult migrants, and playing a key role in the Refugee Integration Yorkshire & Humber project.

Read more about this research:

  • Baynham, M., C. Roberts, M. Cooke, J. Simpson & K. Ananiadou et al. (2007) Effective Teaching and Learning ESOL. London: NRDC.
  • Roberts, C. & Baynham, M. (eds.) Where talk is work: The social contexts of adult ESOL classrooms. Special issue, Linguistics and Education, 17/1, 1-106.
  • Baynham, M. & J. Simpson (2010) Onwards and upwards: Space, placement and liminality in Adult ESOL classes. TESOL Quarterly 44/3, 420-440.
  • Simpson, J. (2012) “Bits here and there” – Fragmented ESOL provision in Leeds. Language Issues 23/2, 32-45.
  • Simpson, J. (2019) Policy and adult migrant language education in the UK. In M. Cooke & R. Peutrell (eds.) Brokering Britain, Educating Citizens. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 25-41.