ESOL day of action

Esol class at Pye Bank
Esol class at Pye Bank

Story: Sandra Heilberg

People in English classes across Burngreave and the city took part in a national day of protest on March 24th. Their message to the government and council is simple – Learning English is the key to taking a full part in the life of our city.

The government proposes huge fee increases which will make the cost of ESOL classes beyond the budget of most ordinary householders. From September this year learners who are not on ‘active’ benefits, Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) will have to pay hundreds of pounds for courses. This will impact particularly on women in Burngreave, who do not claim these benefits.

ESOL Byron Wood
ESOL Byron Wood

As part of their protest learners made keys to symbolize what ESOL means to them personally. The messages on the keys show the need for English in every day life, for communicating with doctors, schools, officials and making friends with their neighbours and people from other cultures. They demonstrate the fear and isolation that learners felt before they started to learn English. Mrs Ibrahim explained that before it was as though she had been blind and that learning English is helping her to open her eyes.

Many of the learners are mothers and their concern is with helping their children “My children speak English. If I can’t speak English how can I teach them behaviour and everything. How can I help them?” asked Mrs Kousar.

Burngreave Learners emailed more than 200 keys, with 100 from other parts of the city, to the local councillors and MPs to persuade them that English is a basic skill and should be supported like numeracy and literacy.

If you would like to support the campaign to save ESOL and adult learning from cuts, you can sign the petition, you can find details about the Campaign for adult learning in the Community section or call the Messenger to find out more.

  • ESOL is the key to not feeling depressed and lonely.

  • ESOL is the key to helping in my community.

  • ESOL is the key to helping my children at school and talking to their teacher.

  • ESOL is the key to making new friends and getting a job.

  • ESOL is the key to getting to university.

  • ESOL is the key to helping my children study.

  • ESOL is the key to making friends with other cultures.

  • ESOL is the key to talking to officials and understanding forms.

  • ESOL is the key to answering the telephone.

  • ESOL is the key to having confidence in myself.

  • ESOL is the key to going to the doctor myself.

  • ESOL is the key to talking to my neighbours.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Saleema Imam on 2011-03-31 16:01:15.
The content of the page was last modified by Jamie Marriott on 2011-09-23 14:01:41.

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