Refugees and asylum seekers to receive free English language classes to help social integration

Published: Thursday, 6th October 2016

Refugees and asylum seekers who live in the City will be given free English language classes later this month, thanks to a £10,000 grant from Oxford City Council.

Oxford City Council has given the money to OCVA (Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action) and WEA (Workers’ Educational Association) to run the courses.

The first pre-entry ESOL course, which will teach about 12 people, starts on Wednesday 12 October between 1pm and 3pm at TheVenue@Cowley in Barns Road.

The course will then run on 19 October, and then every Monday and Wednesday from 31 October to 12 December.

A second course for a further 12 people is planned for early next year.

The courses are free and are designed to support refugees and asylum seekers who have recently arrived in the UK.

They will focus on basic communication skills, such as meeting and greeting; talking about yourself, where you live and your new town; how to talk to teachers/doctors; and how to recognise key words when shopping and looking at local events.

The courses will also promote other activities happening in the local area that support language skills and social integration, such as craft classes and volunteer-led learning circles.

As well as the English language courses, the £10,000 funding will also provide English language teacher training to about 14 people next year. The aim is to train refugees and asylum speakers with a good understanding of the English language to become English language teachers for their community.

The money will also pay for an online database of English language courses that refugees and asylum seekers can access across Oxfordshire.

Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “We have been working successfully with Asylum Welcome and other voluntary groups in providing support for the many refugees who come to Oxford, and experience shows that help with learning English is one of the most important parts of ensuring that they are able to integrate successfully into the community and find work, and do well in education and training. This additional allocation was made in our annual budget and I am pleased that the new scheme has now started.”

For more information about the courses, visit