The Department for Education has promised free English courses for Afghan refugees as part of the government’s Operation Warm Welcome scheme.
Millions of pounds are being made available for specialist education support for families fleeing the Taliban.
Funding rules have also been clarified by the government to ensure the refugees can enrol on adult education courses in England.
We’re helping recently arrived Afghan refugees get school places for their children, as they rebuild their lives.
We are also providing English lessons and specialist teachers for those who need extra support settling in.https://t.co/iodxvf1Mf7
— Gavin Williamson (@GavinWilliamson) September 1, 2021
There is scant detail on how the English courses will be run for the up to 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan being welcomed to the UK.
It is not yet known whether mayoral combined authorities which have a devolved adult education budget will have the same offer to refugees who settle in their localities.
English courses will help families ‘integrate with their communities’
A number of people who assisted the British armed forces in Afghanistan have already relocated here under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
Today the DfE announced the refugees will be able to access English language courses free of charge.
“While many will speak English through their work with the UK government and British forces, and as translators, language classes will ensure all their family members can fully integrate into their local communities.”
The government is also funding 300 university scholarships and providing £12 million to prioritise school places and provide transport, specialist teachers and English language support for these families.
Refugees should ‘take heart’ from Britain’s ‘wave of support’
A weekly update from the Education and Skills Funding Agency today clarified that as long as Afghans covered by ARAP stay in England, they are immediately eligible for further education 19+ funding for courses in England.
HOLEX policy director, Dr Sue Pember, said, “adult community education providers have a vast experience and expertise in helping refugees and are pleased that the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy has recognised the importance of learning English.”
Prime minister Boris Johnson said the “immense debt” the country owes those who worked with our armed forces in Afghanistan means he is “determined we give them and their families the support they need to rebuild their lives here in the UK.
“I know this will be an incredibly daunting time, but I hope they will take heart from the wave of support and generosity already expressed by the British public,” he added.