OFQUAL have shared their response after all of their ESOL consultations. See below.
Based upon the responses received to the consultation, and discussions that we have held with the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the Home Office, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, we have decided that:
- We will not introduce Conditions for a new qualification called ESOL for Life in the UK. Most of the consultation respondents felt that existing ESOL qualifications already provided appropriate qualifications for UK entry, settlement and citizenship. In April 2013 the Home Office announced that it would accept a range of qualifications – including Ofqual-regulated ESOL qualifications – as evidence of English language competence to meet the Home Office Knowledge of Language and Life (KoLL) requirement. Applicants for UK settlement and citizenship will also need to pass the Home Office’s Life in the UK Test, which is subject to stringent security arrangements. We consider that this will go some way to mitigating the current malpractice issues. Therefore there is no requirement to introduce a new ESOL qualification for the purposes that were outlined at the time of our consultation
- We will introduce additional General Conditions of Recognition for ESOL International qualifications that will specify a consistent requirement for 100% external assessment and mapping to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). There was support from stakeholders for both of these conditions
- We will retain the additional regulation currently in place for ESOL Skills for Life (SfL). This regulation requires ESOL SfL qualifications to demonstrate a clear relationship to the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum published by BIS. The responses from the majority of stakeholders said that they wanted this relationship to continue. In February 2013, the Skills Funding Agency announced it would continue to support only ESOL qualifications that are based on the National Standards for Adult Literacy and the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum. Therefore we will retain this regulation in its current form
- We will withdraw the additional regulations currently in place for ESOL for Work. These regulations are already covered by our General Conditions of Recognition and so this change removes duplication and streamlines regulation of this qualification
We will update the current criteria for ESOL Qualifications and General Conditions of Recognition to reflect the changes described above and publish these documents on our website