Our project intended to re-establish high-volume initial language assessment and advice services across the city. This took place in community and college venues – staffed by a small team of peripatetic advisors. The sessions helped establish the level of English competence for New Scots and provide advice and guidance about moving towards an ESOL class or other relevant activity.
Our project aimed to:
- Develop and maintain a coherence for the ESOL service user experience across Glasgow.
- Reduce the number of people awaiting an initial assessment and advice.
- Meet the needs of people awaiting initial assessment and advice.
Glasgow ESOL Forum, Workers Education Association, Glasgow Clyde College, Glasgow Kelvin College, Colleges Development Network, Education Scotland, University of West of Scotland
05/12/2021 – 30/11/2022
New Scots in Glasgow
Spreading good practice
Between 2010 and 2020, our college led the Glasgow ESOL Network Project, which provided language levelling and advice to 1,200 New Scots per annum. Funding for this project was discontinued in the autumn of 2020. Glasgow City Council report there are 5,500 asylum seekers in Glasgow and we also know from the Glasgow ESOL Access Register that there are over 7,367 people who are looking for initial level assessment and advice, but have not been seen yet.
Glasgow Life and other community partners continue to experience constant demand for initial assessments and or ESOL provision from New Scots.
Involvement of New Scots in project
We succeeded in involving the known refugee communities via well-known organisations and stakeholders.
Arguably there may well be New Scots who have no previous engagement with any organisations.
The project succeeded in providing ESOL level assessment advice and guidance to 1,006 beneficiaries in the Glasgow City area. Our initial target had been 1,400.
We did not succeed in disseminating the good practice as much as we would have liked. This was because the core activity of level assessing beneficiaries had fallen behind the project schedules and had to be prioritised. However, lessons learned are being shared in the ESOL stakeholders groupings in Glasgow (Glasgow ESOL Forum) and Scotland (Education Scotland ESOL Leads Group).
Additional beneficial activity that we integrated as the project progresses was closer working with three Glasgow colleges in order to refer beneficiaries in a targeted way to college ESOL provision if and when the college has spaces and college was the appropriate fit for the learner.
Some challenges were project management ones; underestimating the time needed for admin and even initially for recruiting and on-boarding project staff. To overcome this in future, we would recommend the project owner undergo some basic training in the principles and tools of Project Management e.g. progress planner, progress tracker, contingences. risks and mitigations.
Digital communication was not optimal for some members of the target communities, so a future project of this nature should include face to face alternatives.
Well-intentioned and valuable attempts to increase the degree of learner profiling and needs analysis (with particular focus on barriers to engagement) had only limited success. In future, translations will be necessary. Microsoft Immersive Reader could be used to large degree to solve that issue.
More focussed and earlier project management training for the project owner and coordinator.
More face to face community based engagement with beneficiaries, especially in the early part of the project, as this would may well inform the direction of the project.