65 ESOL students have passed their exams with flying colours despite huge challenges to overcome.

The AEB funded ESOL Remote Programme was launched in response to the pandemic. Since learners could no longer meet face-to-face, the course, in association with New City College, was delivered via post and phone during the first lockdown, and moved entirely online in November 2020.

Remote learning is challenging in itself, and was made even more difficult as many of the students had never accessed any digital device before.

After securing 130 tablets, learners were trained on how to access the course via video conferencing. The Bromley by Bow Centre provided wrap-around support with a Key Worker per class working alongside a tutor. This was resource heavy but had a huge impact on attendance and retention.

Ongoing digital issues, and local rises in covid cases as well as those suffering the effects of long Covid added to the difficulties faced by students and teachers.

A positive online learning environment

In April 2021, 76 learners were entered for the Speaking and Listening Exams. Exams took place under strict conditions with each learner using their device’s camera to ensure that no other person was in the room.

The efforts of the team created a community of staff and fellow learners that was supportive and effective. Of those that were examined, we are pleased to announce that 65 passed their exams which is a fantastic achievement.

The learners are now studying for their Reading and Writing exams in June, and we wish them the best of luck.

We’d like to thank London Borough of Tower Hamlets (funding received from Ministry of Housing, communities and local government), London Covid Response fund by Wakefield foundation, and City Bridge Trust which enabled us to procure the new tablets.

ESOL success story

At 61 years old, Ayesha Begum* has been in the country for 42 years. She did not have any schooling beyond primary school and was lacking in confidence. Ayesha also had no IT skills and didn’t believe in her abilities. With the support of the tutor, Ayesha took extra sessions and attended the study buddy group via Zoom. We were delighted to find out that Ayesha passed her exams.

“I just wanted to say Thank You very much for all your help and support. I am so happy and can’t believe I passed and I couldn’t have done it without you.”

  • Ayesha Begum, ESOL at the Bromley by Bow Centre
    *Name changed
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