ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

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ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by jayne stuart - Monday, 14 December 2015, 11:36 AM

WEA have been working with Scottish Refugee Council and other partners over the last 2 years to provide a Holistic Integration Service for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

WEA's role is to provide initial language assessments for all HIS clients as part of the early intervention strategy and ‘Survival English’ courses for HIS clients with English language skills at Access levels 2 & 3 and Access 2 ‘Literacies’.

Our team in Glasgow have developed considerable expertise in this area, and could share learning points for anyone starting to work with refugees in ESOL and Adult Literacies.

Year 1 and 2 evaluation reports are available for sharing.

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Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Lisa McNeil - Wednesday, 16 December 2015, 9:46 AM



I'm one of several members of staff here in Inverclyde who have just started to work with refugees rehomed here.

We would appreciate any support that you can provide and would like to see the reports


Thank you


Lisa McNeil

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Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Maureen Colquhoun - Thursday, 31 March 2016, 9:21 AM



Our first 2 families have just arrived in West Lothian and we are expecting another 4 families in April.  Any help would be greatly appreciated and I would also like to access the reports if possible.




Maureen Colquhoun

Senior Development Worker (ESOL)

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Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Lorna Renton - Wednesday, 6 April 2016, 2:38 PM

Education Scotland hosted an event to support ESOL practitioners who are new to working with refugees. The videos of the presentations, PowerPoints  and some resources are available to watch and download -

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Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Jennifer Nicol - Monday, 12 December 2016, 4:32 PM

Hi there.

We have been providing ESOL to Syrian refugees for about one year now, with new families arriving at various points throughout the year.  We have been able to provide 3 courses per week with one or two learners progressing into existing beginner level provision.  The adults' level of English and formal education meant that we had to create new provision. 

We are seeing great progress but it is slow due to the issues and barriers they face in relation to physical and mental health etc.

We would love to come out and visit other ESOL providers to find out about your experience and how you've dealt with funding, slow progress, partner expectations etc.

Many thanks, Jennifer Nicol (East Renfrewshire)

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Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Jane Logue - Monday, 12 December 2016, 5:41 PM

Hi Jennifer


We've had 2 groups: group 1 came in Autumn 2015 and Group 2 August 2016. We've offered them bespoke classes , of an average of 12 hours per week, 2 classes  at 2 levels.  Given our small number of ESOL tutors, we brought in West College Scotland to work in partnership , which meant we could offer Access 2 certification by the summer.  Most of the 1st group are now attending the college.   We also did a family ESOL summer programme with parents and kids and did an ESOL/IT ( universal jobmatch etc) course. The only thing about bespoke classes is they said they prefer to mix with people from other places but it wouldn't have been practicable as, if we infill, the classes would be too big and other provision doesn't have the same number of hours.


We use VPR resettlement Home Office funding for the Syrian ESOL and our head of department had allocated 500 hours of learning.  We  also provide crèche for it


We have the issues you talk about, e.g. there are mental and physical health issues. You'd be very welcome to come out to Clydebank and have a chat with Eric and me.





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Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Clare Cameron - Tuesday, 13 December 2016, 12:21 PM

Hi Jennifer,

We have five families and a single person in Midlothian. We offer 8 hours ESOL per week, with an extra two hours reading practice for those with low literacy levels. We have basic IT classes as well. We have CELTA -qualified volunteers and arrange trips to places of interest.

We ran a summer programme for the children

All the adults have passed the SQA ESOL Access 2 Literacies Unit.

Despite ongoing physical problems, they are attending well and showing great resilience. They are settling into their new neighbourhoods well, too. One is doing voluntary work. 

If you require any more information, please contact me

Picture of Jennifer Nicol
Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Jennifer Nicol - Friday, 16 December 2016, 11:40 AM


Thanks so much for your replies, they've been really helpful.

We will definitely take up your offer of getting in touch.  I'll contact each person individually, thanks again.


Picture of Oonagh McGarry
Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Oonagh McGarry - Tuesday, 13 December 2016, 12:04 PM

Hi Jennifer

We are  now hosting 4 families in Scottish Borders. We are offering 3 x 2hr ESOL classes (at 2 levels) just for these families. We are also encouraging them to join our "mainstream" ESOL classes, but we're not quite there yet. There have been some significant barriers to learning for these families and we are still working through some of these.

We would be very happy for you to visit/ call/ message etc and discuss what we are doing. We feel we have made  a start, but have a long way to go to get the provision right for these families and would welcome the opportunity for professional dialogue.

Oonagh McGarry

Scottish Borders Council

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Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Lisa McNeil - Monday, 9 January 2017, 3:56 PM

In Inverclyde we have been supporting Afghan families since April 2015 and Syrian families since December 2015.


Initially we offered female only closed groups to the Afghan families and a closed session as well as open community sessions to the Syrian families but now all our ESOL provision is open to both the Afghan & Syrian families and our other community based ESOL learners.

We have 6 sessions per week, 2 hours per session (including a conversational ESOL Cafe) and learners are placed according to their initial assessment. At the moment we have Basic sessions (the vast majority of our current learners are from the refugee families and have very basis English and literacy skills) an intermediate session and an evening session open to all but the majority of the learners in this session are upper intermediate or above (this session is delivered as a joint ESOL/RORO Literacies session)


Feel free to contact us


Regards Lisa McNeil

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Re: ESOL for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
by Jennifer Nicol - Tuesday, 10 January 2017, 10:04 AM

Thanks Lisa.

I'm really interested in the ESOL Café.  We run World Cafés as an opportunity for learners but not on a weekly basis. I'll send you an email for more information.

Thanks again, Jennifer.