ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision for asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Government’s (SG) education brief and has developed independently of and diverged from UK Government approaches in England. The SG’s ESOL Strategy, now in its second iteration, Welcoming Our Learners (2015-2020), interacts with other policy areas, including Adult Literacies, Community Learning and Development (CLD) and the New Scots integration strategy to provide guidance to all migrants in need of English language tuition in Scotland. The SG has established a fee waiver for asylum seekers and any migrants in receipt of benefits, including refugees. This fee waiver is distinctive to Scotland and in keeping with the SG’s ‘from day one’ approach to integration, meaning that asylum seekers and refugees do not face financial barriers to accessing ESOL provision. However, whilst the SG’s approach to ESOL provision for displaced migrants addresses immediate financial hurdles to accessing ESOL, other barriers persist, including immigration demands relating to their status, health and wellbeing factors and precarious housing, all of which can adversely impact a person’s ability to (a) access ESOL and (b) learn in the same way as other learners. GLIMER Research finds that in Scotland, these factors are exacerbated by environmental and systemic factors in a noticeably complex ESOL environment, which do not explicitly take into account additional barriers and vulnerabilities for displaced migrants. This Policy Brief by the GLIMER Scotland team puts forward recommendations for how this can be addressed.

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5082343