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No cuts | 26.04.2007 09:11 | Birmingham

Demonstrate against ESOL cuts, May 1st 2007

Organise against Further Education/ ESOL cuts

Tuesday May 1st 5pm onwards New Street outside Waterstones at the entrance to the Bullring shopping centre Birmingham City Centre

UCU have organised a mass leafleting and petitioning of the public to highlight the cuts

Under government proposals asylum seekers over the age of 19 will no longer be entitled to free ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) lessons.

More than 140 MPs have signed a early day motion calling for a policy rethink. By the government’s own admission, up to half-a-million adult learners risk losing their courses as a result of its new priorities for post-16 education. At the same time, thousands of learners face the prospect of paying large fee increases for their courses.

A sharp turn in focus towards 16-19 year-olds has led to a 3% drop in the funding for post-19 Adult Education. Job losses, course closures and fee increases, which began in 2006, are gathering pace in 2007.

Proposed cuts to English language classes for immigrants contradict the government's own policies on integration, MPs have warned.

These courses have long been considered a key element in helping either newly arrived migrants, or those already settled in the UK, to gain sufficient knowledge of

the language to integrate more fully into society.

An understanding of English is now a key element of citizenship tests and in October 2006, Prime Minister Tony Blair underlined the importance of language to community cohesion.

Communities secretary Ruth Kelly said she would launch a review of language services after BBC figures suggested public bodies were spending at least £100m on translation and interpretation services for UK residents.

'Policy contradiction'

At Education questions in the House of Commons, Labour's John Grogan told MPs that the cuts appeared to run contrary to policy.

"Cuts in funding for training in English for speakers of other languages, effectively ending free tuition for low-paid migrant workers from next September, is rather at odds with statements from ministers about the central importance of migrant workers learning English".

We’re not the only ones!

• May 1st looks set to be the biggest day of protest by workers in Britain for many years.

• 250,000 PCS civil service workers’ union members will be striking against job cuts, low pay and privatisation that will devastate services.

Contact Alliya Stennett at City College on 0121 741 1000 or 07810 758 878

Come and join us!
Even if you can only spare 15 minutes!

No cuts