We’re Learning English Together!

Published Wednesday 30 December 2020 at 9:46

The first learners to complete an innovative English language programme are feeling more confident about speaking English in public.

Learning English Together is a new English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teaching programme with a focus on integration.

It is a partnership between Blackburn with Darwen Council’s social integration programme Our Community, Our Future, and a network of ESOL providers across the borough.

Funded through MHCLG’s ESOL for Integration programme, Learning English Together classes are all about building learners’ confidence by giving them genuine opportunities to practise their English in community settings, and supporting them to access public services.

The Our Community, Our Future team is working with Blackburn College, Al Hayat Languages, and the Council’s Adult Learning team to deliver classroom sessions.

Partners IMO and Re:Source are running additional sessions that go beyond the classroom to help learners discover local places like libraries, parks and the museum, and to use health services – and lots more!

The Learning English Together programme also has a ‘social mixing’ element, supported by a variety of partners. In the New Year, Arts2Heal, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Note Weavers, Home Start, the Bureau Centre for the Arts, Heart & Parcel, Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery, and Blackburn Library will deliver activity-based learning sessions designed to get learners mixing with others – safely, of course – as they practise their language skills through shared interests like art, cooking and the great outdoors.

A total of 86 learners have completed the first term of Learning English Together classes.

One of those learners is Amina, a young mum originally from Pakistan, who is enjoying having the opportunity to practise speaking English in classes.

Amina took part in a six week social mixing activity run by Home Start Blackburn & Darwen, delivered online due to the second lockdown. She and her young son took part in the sessions online and enjoyed interacting with the tutors while making various crafts, sharing stories and singing nursery rhymes and fun songs.

Amina said:

I feel more confident to speak in English. It has helped me to talk to the doctors.

People can find about more about ESOL classes and arrange an assessment on the brand new Learning English Together website.

Learning English Together makes it easier for people to find English language classes delivered by a range of different ESOL providers in Blackburn with Darwen.

The site www.learnenglishbwd.org.uk has lots of information about classes across various levels, and in different places in the borough.

The website is managed by the Our Community, Our Future team, and has been funded through the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of the Council and Chair of the Our Community, Our Future Board, said:

Figures from the 2011 census tell us that 4% of residents over the age of three speak no or very little English. For these people, lacking English language skills can prevent them from making the most of everything that the borough has to offer, and perhaps lead to them living isolated lives.

Through a better co-ordinated approach to ESOL teaching across the borough, Learning English Together aims to reduce the number of people who can’t speak English well and the number of households in the borough where only children speak English.

Helping residents to improve their English language skills supports our social integration goals, by building people’s confidence to get involved in local life – through accessing healthcare, supporting their children’s education, finding work, and much more.

We’re very grateful to all the local partners who’ve got involved in Learning English Together. Through better co-ordination of ESOL classes, we want to make it easier for people with an English language need to find the best class for them, without having to go on a waiting list.

On the Learning English Together website, people can search for classes by level, by the provider teaching the class, and by the venue where the class takes place. They can also register for an assessment to find out which level of class they need to join.

Take a look at the Learning English Together website – www.learnenglishbwd.org.uk.

For more information about this co-ordinated approach to ESOL teaching in Blackburn with Darwen, email integration@blackburn.gov.uk or call 01254 304597.

This site uses cookies. Find out more about this site’s cookies.