Press release

Thousands to benefit from new English language programmes

Councils, charities and adult learning providers to receive a share of funding which will help adults with their English language skills.

  • Winners of £4.5 million Integrated Communities English Language Programme announced.
  • A further £1.2 million will be given to successful winners of the English Language Coordination Fund to develop new coordination models.
  • Both will help learners get the right type of English language provision to help them integrate into life in England.

Councils, charities and adult learning providers have been successful in their bids to receive a share of funding which will help adults with their English language skills, Communities Minister Lord Bourne announced today (28 February 2019).

Everyone living in England should be able to speak and understand English, so they can integrate into life in this country and make the most of the opportunities of living in modern Britain.

The government’s Integrated Communities English Language Programme and Coordination Fund aim to tackle one of the key causes of poor integration.

The Integrated Communities English Language Programme will fund over 19,000 learner places, teaching in communities with a high proportion of adults who speak little or no English.

The programme looks to support learners who may not have previously taken steps to learn English and will deliver classes that will improve proficiency in English, boost confidence and encourage integration.

At a Talk English lesson held at Manchester Art Gallery, Communities Minister Lord Bourne said:

Speaking English is so crucial in our day-to-day lives – whether we’re helping our children with their homework or travelling on a bus to do the shopping.

This new programme is focused on those people who may be isolated by their inability to speak the language and help them better integrate into life in this country by making good use of local services, becoming part of community life and mixing and making friendships with people from different backgrounds.

This new programme will start in April and replaces and builds on the success of the existing community-based English language programme which has helped over 73,000 people to improve their English over the last 5 years.

The successful bidders who will be funded from the new Integrated Communities English Language Programme include Redbridge Institute of Adult Education, FaithAction, Manchester Adult Education and TimeBank.

Joni Cunningham, Principal of Redbridge Institute said:

We are very excited to be part of this much needed innovative programme which will take English language teaching into the heart of our communities. Supporting people informally to take their first steps in learning English will break down barriers, raise ambitions to carry on learning and help people make more of their lives.

Today’s announcement also includes 8 successful local authorities who will be funded from the new English Language Coordination Fund.

The fund will help local authorities and their local partners to improve the coordination of ESOL provision by proposing a better local offer for learners to suit their needs.

This will include access to better information about provision for learners as well as offering single points of contact where learners can receive impartial information, advice and guidance and have their English language learning needs properly assessed.

Case studies of learners

Manchester City Council (Talk English)

Shazia joined a Talk English course in Leeds to improve her English, gain confidence and be more independent, so that she didn’t have to rely on others. She also hoped that learning English will help her to support her child’s education and wellbeing.

By taking part in Talk English, Shazia has started to talk to the staff at her child’s nursery and has taken her child to the doctors and the park by herself. Shazia has also taken part in some community events and speaks English with her neighbour, who is friendly to her.


Jaheda had lived in the UK for 34 years but could not speak English and therefore rarely left the house. She suffered from severe depression.

Creative English gave her the confidence, language skills and awareness of other opportunities in her community to go on to join another English class and the friendships to meet regularly with a group of women from different cultural backgrounds in a local coffee shop.

Further information

With almost 3,500 responses, the government’s Integrated Communities Strategy green paper last March set out proposals to support people to speak English, including a new community-based English language programme from April 2019

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Published 28 February 2019