What is ESOL?
ESOL refers to English language provision for anyone who has come to the UK to settle and live permanently, who speaks a language or languages other than English. ESOL courses usually lead to a qualification and are described by levels: Entry 1, Entry 2, Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2. The courses at Entry level may include elements of citizenship, so that learners may use the qualification to apply for UK settlement and naturalisation/citizenship. ESOL may also be embedded as part of another course. For example, NIACE developed ESOL materials for migrant workers in seven employment sectors.
ESOL learners do not usually come to the UK primarily in order to improve their English, but for a range of other reasons - political, economic or personal. They may be refugees or economic migrants; they may have arrived recently, or have been living in the UK for a long period; they may have a high level of previous education, or have never been to school.
Most ESOL learners are not learning English as an end in itself, but because they want to do other things which require an improved knowledge of English; such as work, study, participate more fully in UK life and support their children's learning.