Summary: UK government announces £10 million in new funding towards English classes for Syrian refugees

4th September 2016: The UK Home Office has today announced that it is committing £10 million in new funding towards English language classes for Syrian refugees arriving in the UK under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (VPRS). SRT grantee Refugee Action has led the campaign for improved access to English classes for refugees, and is now calling for other refugee groups to receive the same assistance.

The government committed last year to resettling 20,000 Syrian refugees under VPRS by 2020. According to the latest figures, around 2,800 Syrians have arrived since the start of the scheme and have settled in over 100 local authority areas. The new funding for English classes will give all adults arriving under VPRS 12 additional hours of lessons per week, on top of the classes already provided by local authorities. The Home Office has been working with Refugee Action to provide guidance to local councils on language tuition.

Refugee Action’s ‘Let Refugees Learn’ campaign resulted in a report published in 2016, also titled Let Refugees Learn, which made various recommendations including creating a fund specifically to support refugees learning English, ensuring equal access to language classes for women, providing asylum seekers with the right to access free English language learning, and ensuring language support for refugees within their communities.

Refugee Action’s Chief Executive Stephen Hale said, “We are delighted that the Government is responding to our ‘Let Refugees Learn’ Campaign with an investment of £10 million so that Syrian refugees in the UK can access the classes and support they need to learn English. This will help individuals and families to make friends, find work and fully integrate into their local communities, and benefit all in Britain […] We [now] call on the Government to make sure that all refugees rebuilding their lives here have the opportunity to learn the language of their new home.”

Full coverage from Refugee Action’s website:

The Let Refugees Learn report is available here.

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