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Ukrainian refugees in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough access English lessons

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has been supporting Ukrainian refugees in the county by being the only Combined Authority in the country to fully fund English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL) provision.

Dr Nik Johnson. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Nik Johnson. Picture: Keith Heppell

To date, 307 Ukrainian refugees have been supported through ESOL in the region. ESOL is a language course that supports speakers of other languages to learn the basics of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in English. The Combined Authority has awarded c£1.2m to education providers to deliver ESOL in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for the 2021/22 academic year.

Courses are offered to students in a variety of ways so that they can pick a learning method which suits them and their lifestyle best. This could be from full-time to part-time study, online to evening classes or even summer programmes.

Today (August 24), the people of Ukraine mark their Independence Day, exactly six months since Russia’s invasion, and 31 years since declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ukraine flags. Picture: iStock
Ukraine flags. Picture: iStock

Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said: “We are proud to be the only Combined Authority in the country that fully funds ESOL provision. Being able to speak the native language in any country has an enormous impact on quality of life.

“Refugees have already been through so much; it is imperative that we support them to resettle. That includes giving them the tools they need to access employment, understand and interact with the services they need, join clubs, and make friends. We can do that by offering ESOL to students.”

[Read more: Cambridge4Ukraine appeals for more homes for those fleeing war, 100 free tickets available for Ukrainian refugees, teachers, charity worker and NHS staff to The Cambridge Club Festival]

Cambridge Regional College (CRC) are one of seven ESOL providers in the region. Michelle Dowse, deputy principal at Cambridge Regional College, said: “Since April of this year, CRC has been welcoming Ukrainian students on to our ESOL programmes with numbers growing month to month.

“With Combined Authority funding, CRC has enrolled 50 Ukrainian students to date. Over 200 people from the Ukraine have been welcomed for initial assessments and guidance over the summer period, and we are thrilled that they will be starting their courses with us in September.

“Ukrainian students have embraced the learning and seen rapid improvement of their English skills. We are very proud to support these students providing them with new opportunities.”

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