This post was published on the 22nd February 2012
Written by GCC User
Published in the staff blog
On Thursday 2 February the ESOL Department was visited by group of civil servants from BIS, DWP, The Home Office, DCLG and the SFA. All of these departments deal with ESOL from different angles (preemployment training and English for Work, ESOL for job seekers, for citizenship, for community cohesion etc) and often make conflicting demands on providers and students.
The purpose of the visit for the civil servants (many of whom are new in their posts) to gain an understanding of ESOL in a diverse urban college. Their impression will certainly inform future thinking about funding and provision.
The purpose of the visit for us was to debunk some of the myths about ESOL prevailing in government: that our provision is poor quality, with poor outcomes and progression. So no pressure there!
In the morning they visited several ESOL classes. Some joined in and many commented on the degree of enthusiasm and the language the students were able to produce. Needless to say our teachers put on a good show and lessons were relevant, engaging and classrooms decorated and welcoming. There was a brief working lunch hosted by Gary, at which we raised the plight of age contested asylum seekers, the issues around setting up courses with JCP and a range of other issues followed by a learner meeting.
The meeting was really well attended and included some alumni (Egle from Finance, Dorata, now of DKNY), some of the stars of last year’s Action for ESOL campaign (Juan and Idil, to name two), students who have progressed through the ESOL levels and into level 3 courses and, of course, current ESOL students of every age, nationality and level, all really keen to demonstrate how much they value the classes and how important they are to their lives.
Afterwards Gary said that he felt very proud of the very positive impression and message our students presented to our visitors. And Bill Hallahan, the civil servant at BIS with responsibility for ESOL wrote, “Please pass on our thanks to all the staff and students for giving up so much of their time to see us. I know from speaking to everyone that came along that they had found it really worthwhile and insightful. It was really beneficial to see ESOL being taught, to speak to the teachers and to hear directly from the students.”
We hope we have contributed to a fair and positive future for our provision and our students.
Head of Department for Language and Literacy