The English language sits at the heart of a number of important debates. Economic success, social inclusion, integration, citizenship and national identity all affect, and are affected by, English provision for speakers of other languages (ESOL). In London, with an estimated 600,000 people of working age with varying levels of need, these issues are magnified. Providing half the English language courses in the whole of the UK, the capital is an important test case for national policy.
A Common Language starts from first principles. It underlines why English matters and sets out how policy can encourage and support learning. English language is vital to social inclusion, economic success and individual empowerment. But national policy needs to make fewer assumptions about people’s personal circumstances and aspirations if London is to become as inclusive and successful as it can be.