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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)

Improving your English can help you get more out of your life here in the UK. It will also help if you want to study, improve your CV, or apply to become a British citizen.

Improving your English

If English isn't your main language, you can do a course to help you improve your English. These courses are called ESOL or English for Speakers of other Languages.

Improving your English will make it easier to:

  • talk to doctors and teachers
  • understand the laws and customs of the UK
  • do a course and get a qualification
  • help your child with homework
  • pass the Life in the UK test and become a British citizen

What does an ESOL course involve?

ESOL courses cover:

  • speaking and listening
  • reading and writing
  • vocabulary
  • punctuation and grammar

There are courses at different levels so you'll be able to start at the right level for you.

Where can you get advice?

There are ESOL courses throughout the UK and advice is available to help you choose the right course for you.   

For free advice call the Get On helpline. Lines are open from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm, seven days a week.

  • Get On helpline: 0800 66 0800

Advice in other languages

If you'd like advice on learning and careers, you can speak to a Careers Advice Service advisor in the following languages:

  • Farsi - 0800 0931116
  • French - 0800 093 1115
  • Gujarati - 0800 093 1119
  • Punjabi - 0800 093 1333
  • Polish - 0800 093 1114
  • Somali - 0800 093 1555
  • Sylheti - 0800 093 1444
  • Urdu - 0800 093 1118
  • Welsh - 0800 100 900

The helplines are available from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday.

Learning English online

BBC Learning English

News, webcasts, quizzes and message boards for learners of English across the world, plus resources for teachers.

British Council

Learn English or practise your skills online on the British Council Learn English website.

'Life in the UK' test

You take the 'Life in the UK' test if you're applying to be a British citizen and your level of English is ESOL Entry 3 or above.

If your level of English is lower than ESOL Entry 3 and you wish to apply for naturalisation, you will need to attend combined English language (ESOL) and citizenship classes instead.

For advice on how to assess your level of English, phone the National Careers Service. Lines are open from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm, seven days a week.

  • National Careers Service: 0800 100 900

To talk to someone about the 'Life in the UK' test, call the 'Life in the UK' helpline. Lines are open from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm, seven days a week.

  • 'Life in the UK' helpline: 0800 015 4245

Useful contacts

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