Brent students protest cuts to English languages courses

The College of North West London is backing a campaign against cuts to ESOL

STUDENTS from a Brent college are joining the fight to save English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) courses after the government restricted those eligible for lessons.

Currently 37 per cent of students at the College or North West London (CNWL), which has campuses in Willesden and Wembley Park, study ESOL classes.

But under new guidelines those on ‘non-active benefits’ – people on income support, low incomes, asylum seekers or refugees – will no longer be eligible for the lessons, which education chiefs say are the first step towards employment and integration.

One of the many ESOL students who will be affected by the government’s plans at CNWL is Layla Abdi Nur, 26. She has four children and lives in Wembley.

She said: “I really want to improve my English and to keep learning. I wanted to train to become a nurse and make a difference and help support my family.”

Mrs Abdi Nur, who is a refugee, and therefore not eligible for support, fled Somalia and came to this country four and half-years-ago.

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She continued: “Now with these cuts, it is going to be so difficult, if not impossible, for me and so many others in my classes to carry on. If we cannot learn English and try and get a job, what does the Government want us to do?”

Students from the school have joined a campaign, called Action for ESOL to speak out against the cuts.

Cath King, Head of Faculty for Skills for Life, said: “Learning the English language is too important to be limited to the few, and migrants to this country must be given the opportunity to learn.”