Of all the metropoli in England, Birmingham presents some amazing statistics: it boasts the second-largest population in our country and it is considered the second centre for finance, commerce, culture and social engagement, after London.
Birmingham’s six universities make her our land’s largest centre for higher education, again, second only to our country’s capital city.
With numbers like that, who could blame anyone for wanting to live in Birmingham?
According to the latest census numbers, just under a quarter-million people who live in Birmingham were born outside of the country and just about half of that number have claimed ‘brummie-ship’ for less than 10 years.
A brummie, in case you don’t know, is what natives of Birmingham call themselves.
And more people are moving into the Birmingham area all the time: if things keep up as they are now, the population is expected to increase 8% in two years.
How much of that number will be immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their family? How many will be asylum seekers or refugees?
How many international students will find life in Birmingham so agreeable to will stay on after graduation?
For most of these groups, there is just one small hurdle to their starting a new life in Birmingham: the language barrier. Somehow, those who do not speak English when they arrive must learn how.
Here is where your Superprof jumps in: now we help anyone seeking English courses to find the lessons they need.
Take ESOL Classes in a School
Going to class to learn how to speak English might seem to be an obvious path to language acquisition.
However, for those newly-arrived who know nothing of British culture, how society works or even what is available to them, discovering that there are schools dedicated to teaching English as a second language might be just the news they need.
And what about those aforementioned international students? They surely know enough English grammar and vocabulary to score well on their IELTS exam, otherwise, they would not have been allowed to register for classes at university.
That doesn’t mean that they are wholly confident in their English language skills, or even that they possess enough knowledge of the English language to follow the lectures they might attend or that their academic writing would pass muster. Perhaps they too need Esol courses.
We now take a closer look at ESL classes in select schools in and around Birmingham.
We've also taken a look at ESOL courses in Manchester...
City of Wolverhampton College
Located in the northwestern part of the Midlands, Wolverhampton is a relatively small region of Birmingham and Wolverhampton College is the city’s main further education campus.
There, you would find ESOL classes for 16-18 as well as 19+ classes – in other words, adult education.
While the course for young learners is full time, adult learners may choose between full- and part-time learning. In either case, courses last for one year.
Obviously, reading and writing are taught and spoken English is also heavily emphasised.
In addition to those, there is a focus on maths and social development, meaning aspects of British culture and how to adapt to it.
Through these courses, you can develop confidence in speaking English as well as learning how to use English in your daily transactions.
The best part of these lessons is that, once you’ve completed that course, you would be ready to register for classes that could eventually provide you with skills to help you find a better job.
Depending on your situation, you may not have to pay any money for these courses. You should contact them to see if their waivers apply to you!
Are there free ESOL classes in Edinburgh?
ESOL Lessons at Birmingham Metropolitan College
This college, with its 14 campuses scattered throughout the city and beyond, is one of the largest in the country. Thus it stands to reason that it would have a lot to offer to English language learners.
They accept students who can speak as little as basic English all the way up to Level 2, meaning that you can get along fairly well with the English skills you already have.
To determine your level, your advisor will conduct a short exam to see how much English you know and how well you use it.
After that, s/he will talk with you to find out what your needs and goals are; you will then be assigned to the class that suits you the best. Alongside your English learning, you will also study basic math.
These adults-only classes are part-time and they last for 35 weeks and may be free, depending on your situation.
Discover the wealth of ESOL courses in London...
ESOL Classes at EXL
Of all of the schools we scoured for this article, only one prominently advertises preparation for the Life in the UK test and the UK citizenship test.
Anyone hoping to claim residence in this country must sit one or the other exam.
While many courses in and around Birmingham will teach you English as a foreign language, EXL stands out as one that will prepare you for those all-important exams.
Enrolling with them is much the same as with any English program: first, you must meet with an advisor who will test your level of English.
Based on your test results you will be placed in a class with other students who speak English about as well as you do.
This one-of-a-kind program will, of course, teach you all of the English you need to know to function in society but then, it goes further. You could select:
- ESOL-work: English skills to find a job in Birmingham
- ESOL- skills for life: learn how to talk with doctors and shopkeepers, and how to talk to officials
- ESOL- citizenship: learn everything you need to know to pass the important citizenship exam
These courses are only open to adult learners but EXL also offers language courses for international students.
There are so many ESOL courses on offer in Birmingham that, should we list them all, this article would take a year to read. You might instead refer to a page where the most popular schools that offer ESOL lessons are listed.
And if you are looking for ESL classes elsewhere in the UK, you might find our companion article helpful...
Online Courses to Learn English
It is easy to empathise with someone who has just landed in our city: the noise, traffic and crowds must be frightening, especially if one doesn’t understand the language or the culture...
To that end, the British Council has set up a treasure trove of resources free of charge so that non-native English speakers can pick up basic English phrases and cultural tips at home.
Their welcome page is laid out in such a way that English learners can find exactly what they’re looking for:
- vocabulary and grammar lessons
- general language skills such as speaking and reading, listening and writing, as well as pronunciation and a bit about numbers and basic math
- life in the UK: videos about different cities and regions in our country
- English for work: words and phrases one might need to find a job or to actually work
There is also a video collection of other ESOL learners describing their experiences living in the UK.
For all that these pages are well designed and surely helpful, there is little opportunity for learners to practise their speaking skills.
If that is the case, you might want to search for a language centre near you where you can enrol in English lessons.
Or, if you feel comfortable with the idea of having a conversation with a native English speaker – but not in a class, you might look into this next option.
Or why not get a private tutor to help you learn English online.
This helpful web site would also be a great learning tool for ESOL students in Cardiff...
Distance Learning ESOL Courses
Due to the growing need for language training in English and, sadly, not enough teachers to fill all of those jobs, the next best step would be for schools to sponsor classes online.
Distance learning is not a new concept; even before computers, it was not uncommon for businesses to make tele-training available to their employees.
However, computers and the Internet has made it easy to host large classes, wherein students benefit from direct instruction and can even talk with their teacher and classmates.
The ESOL Centre is just such a concern. This school is based in Nottingham but its classes are available all over the UK.
Unlike other schools listed in this article, English teaching is all that this school does and they do it very well!
You may start out as a beginner and progress to higher levels of learning or, if you already speak conversational English, you might begin at the intermediate level.
Each class is a certificate program, meaning that, once you complete that course, you will earn a certificate of achievement.
The fees for these courses are low. For example, if you take their beginner course you will pay £89 for a 12-week course. That amount includes your group classes and tutor support.
It would be difficult to find a better learning opportunity anywhere... but let’s try.
Learn English with a Private Tutor
Keeping in mind that some who need ESOL lessons have escaped from terrible conditions and might not be ready to take on any new challenges, it is quite possible that they would hope for an English teacher to come to their home for lessons.
Find out whether ESL tutors in Leeds also make house calls...
Should that be the case, tutors would be the best language teachers... and one would be hard-pressed to find better ESOL tutors than at Superprof.
Most Superprof tutors have earned their TEFL certificate or the equivalent CELTA and have years of experience teaching English abroad or teaching ESL at home.
You can verify their qualifications as well as their teaching experience through student testimonials right on their profile page.
These ESOL tutors would be happy to give lessons in your home or by webcam; you can also arrange to take lessons with a small group of friends or family.
Are you worried that private English lessons might cost too much?
You can rest easy knowing that the average cost of one hour with a Superprof ESOL tutor is low; £18, to be exact. And most of them give their first lesson at no cost to you!
Superprof has 71 ESOL tutors in the Birmingham area; they are just waiting to help you learn all about Great Britain’s language and culture.
Are you ready for some serious language acquisition?
How about finding English lessons in Belfast?