Language of success

Monday 10 June 2013

Bedford College is helping people from a wide range of nationalities towards Government-approved qualifications.

The college has nearly 400 students of “ESOL” English for Speakers of Other Languages all based in Roger’s Court in Cauldwell Street – where classes are held during the day and evenings. There are two intakes a year: January and September.

This year the Government funds 50% of the £600 32-week courses (four to six hours per week). The remainder has to be paid by the student, unless they are 18 years or under, or in receipt of Job Seeker allowances.

The courses cover three elements which are subject to Cambridge ESOL examinations: speaking & listening, reading and writing. The UK Border Agency requires a certificate from elements of these three as part of Citizenship Applications.

Karike de Klerk, Assistant Director for English Language Teaching, Literacy and Numeracy explains:

This training was entirely free until six years ago, now the Government pays 50% and the student the other half – which secures commitment to the course.

“The majority of learners complete the course and obtain their certificates – when they do not, it may be because the person has a got a job and can no longer attend.

“We group people of similar language levels and abilities together, although they may differ in term of their educational backgrounds. For example, one student may be a well-qualified professional such as scientist or teacher in their own country and language, but need to improve their English before they can work in their profession in the UK. Another may have a much lower level of general education due to a variety of circumstances, but is operating at the same language level in English.

“We encourage learners to keep on studying- whether this means taking another ESOL course at a higher level or taking one of the broad range of courses available at Bedford College – so that they can access a great variety of jobs and improve their daily lives in here in the UK.

“The purpose of ESOL is not only to improve language skills but to help people integrate into society and gain a better understanding of the UK.

"Courses are held at various times during the day and evening so people can study around family or work commitments."

Find out more about ESOL courses at Bedford College

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