ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision for asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland is distinctive within the UK. The Scottish Government waives ESOL fees for asylum seekers, meaning that ESOL provision is not formally restricted according to immigration status. The ESOL environment in Scotland is currently characterised by complexity. ESOL providers include: colleges, local authorities, ALEOs, the third sector and community organisations. ESOL courses are both accredited and non-accredited, run across a range of competencies, for speakers of other languages of all immigration statuses. Funding for ESOL is channelled through a variety of routes, including through the Scottish Funding Council, the Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), local authority Community Learning and Development funds and NGO funders. Funding routes can be variable, but each contains specific requirements for ESOL provision and shapes (a) how courses are delivered and (b) who can attend. Recent changes to the funding pathways for Scottish Funding Council resources has (a) redirected the responsibility for funding distribution from Community Planning Partnerships to colleges and (b) sought to increase oversight for resources by emphasising accredited learning. GLIMER research suggests that these changes may negatively impact learning opportunities and experiences for displaced migrants. Though ESOL delivery receives some direction from the Scottish Government’s ESOL Strategy, current governance infrastructures are both strongly localised and subject to centralising forces. Localised approaches are influenced by the immigration pathways of their learners, the dynamics between college and community provision and the local environment. Experiences of ESOL provision in the urban site of Glasgow differs significantly from that in remote and rural areas participating in the Resettlement Scheme. There is currently a disconnect between Scottish Funding Council ESOL resourcing and the requirements of local areas participating in the Resettlement Scheme. As funding for Resettlement ESOL is time-limited, further work needs to be done on how Scottish Government provision can better support ESOL provision for new Resettlement populations in the long term. Elsewhere, GLIMER research found though at delivery level, ESOL providers were aware of the specific barriers to ESOL to which asylum seekers and refugees were vulnerable, this awareness was not as firmly actioned in policy-making processes. As a result, changes to Scottish Funding Council funding pathways did not actively take into account how they might adversely impact displaced migrants. Changes to the funding pathways which emphasised accredited ESOL were likely to affect learners (a) at literacy level or (b) who preferred non-accredited classes. Stakeholders reported that these types of learners were likely to be displaced migrants.

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5082310