Tuesday, 15 March 2005 (at the Holland House Hotel, Cardiff)
Wales has welcomed an increasing number of people from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds in recent years. Most come by choice to work, to join families or create new ones. Others have escaped civil unrest and prosecution to seek asylum in the UK and have been sent to Wales as a result of the Government’s dispersal strategy. Over the past year the opening up of the EU to accession countries has added to the linguistic diversity of the nation. Successful integration and active participation in society requires competence in English and Welsh. Since July 2004 aspiring UK citizens have had to demonstrate that they can speak and understand English, or Welsh in Wales, up to Entry 3 of the Adult ESOL curriculum.
The subject of this conference will be on initiatives in the Post 16 sector concerned with improving effectiveness and increasing the range of learning opportunities as part of Welsh Assembly Government’s Basic Skills Strategy. The overarching theme of the conference will be ESOL for Citizenship and we are pleased that Jane Davidson, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning, has agreed to speak at the event. We are also delighted that Sir Bernard Crick will make the opening keynote speech. Sir Bernard chaired the Life in the United Kingdom Advisory Group whose report ‘The New and the Old’ led to the Government adopting the programme of study for citizenship which increasingly is becoming a focus of many ESOL programmes.
The programme of study for citizenship informed the content of our multimedia resource Citizenskills which we shall be launching at the conference. The law and community safety are important elements of any citizenship programme: Chief Superintendent Robert Evans, from Cardiff Police Headquarters will talk about the contribution of his community police officers to a course for asylum seekers taught by Cardiff LEA’s Parade ESOL service. Delegates will also have the opportunity to participate in two workshops: one on the ESOL units of the forthcoming Level 3 Certificate in Delivering Basic Skills and another on ESOL for Childcare for asylum seekers, which builds on the Language and Play and Keeping up with the Children programmes.
The conference is aimed at ESOL curriculum managers, teachers and senior personnel responsible for basic skills, training providers and voluntary and community sector organisations working with linguistic minority communities.