Plenty of people all over the world have a good reason to look for lessons in English as a second language.

English is the language of commerce and business; everywhere in the world, corporations such as Airbus and Nokia, speaking English is a job requirement.

And, although the English language has been the standard for communication in the airline industry for years – pilots and air traffic controllers all use English, in 2008, speaking English became a worldwide mandate.

That explains pretty well why people in every corner of the globe would seek out ESL lessons, doesn’t it?

And then, we have our country.

English is our declared national language. That doesn’t mean it is the only acceptable language throughout the UK; other languages, such as Scots, Welsh, Irish and Cornish are also recognised.

If those tongues represented the end of the story, it would be hard to understand why there are so many ESL courses offered throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Historically, insulated by her watery borders, Great Britain had been relatively free of immigrants.

That status is undergoing a revolution now, with our universities welcoming more international students and more asylum seekers and refugees finding their way to our shores.

While our latest census is currently eight years old, a survey from this year indicates that around three-quarters of a million people living in the UK do not speak any English at all.

How can anyone expect to function in society – transact business, fill out official forms and even buy food if they cannot communicate in our native language?

Non-native speakers have made their home throughout this land. Fortunately, there are ESL classes for everyone in just about every city across the UK.

Your Superprof outlines a few of the best ones for you.

Find ESOL Classes in London

You can also find ESOL courses for young learners in London
The British Council has many activities for young English learners Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Predictably, our capital city has the greatest concentration of people whose mother tongue is other than English.

That could be because more than one-third of the population of Greater London is foreign-born... and that number does not include university students from other countries.

By the latest count, some 300 languages are actively spoken in and around London.

It would be a safe bet to believe that the people who speak languages other than English are actively looking for English lessons.

Find English courses in London with a qualified tutor.

Seeing as most employers will ask for proof of English language ability before they hire anyone, sitting the IELTS exam is a good way for non-native English speakers to prove that they can speak English well enough to work.

Many language schools in London offer classes in IELTS exam preparation, as well as general English courses, citizenship courses and Life in the UK courses.

To find them all, you should refer to Superprof’s ESOL Courses in London article.

The Best ESOL Classes in Manchester

Manchester is the winner of immigration – Nick Martin

London may be the immigration capital but Mancunians don’t hesitate to throw out a warm welcome, either.

And, whereas London, at last count, boasted an active repertoire of around 300 languages, Manchester lays claim to more than 200.

It must surely be quite comforting for Poles, Bangladeshi and people from India to find entire communities of expatriates in Manchester.

Finding familiar foods and hearing a familiar language provide new arrivals with a sense of continued cultural identity and relief from the uncertainty that comes with such a major life event as relocation.

However, to integrate into greater Manchester society, to fill out official forms – for asylum, for residency or to enrol one’s children in school, one must know how to speak more than basic English.

To that end, the Manchester City Council has put together several ESL programs through which non-English speakers can pick up English language skills.

All of those are for adult learners. If you have young children who need to pick up language skills, Talk English would be the best learning centre for them... for the whole family, in fact!

To learn more of what Manchester has to offer to English language learners, why not read more in-depth?

Birmingham’s Best ESOL Courses

London is considered a global city – a leader in finance, business, culture and education, but Birmingham is ranked second on all of those aspects and more.

Of particular note is her six universities that allow plenty of room for international students.

But those students don’t count in our census, which indicates that Birmingham is now home to nearly a quarter-million people who were born abroad.

Fortunately for them (and for us, who grow through cultural exchange), Birmingham has many schools, charities and tutors to help any new arrival on their quest for language acquisition.

One in particular specifically promotes its Life in the UK exam preparation.

This exam is designed to test those who wish to make their life in our country on their English skills as well as their knowledge of British culture, our laws and our government.

To find out more about this and other language schools and student resources, you may refer to our longer article on English language learning in Birmingham.

You can learn to speak English online
Many people studying English as a second language take English online courses Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Glasgow: the Scottish Centre for ESOL Learning

If Birmingham is home to a vast international student population, Glesga would have to be that city’s Scottish twin.

But it is not only Glasgow’s renowned universities that draw people from all corners of the world there.

Glasgow has the third-highest GDP per capita in the country – meaning that living standards there are better than most other cities in the UK.

Glesga’s vibrant culture and her strong economy add up to making her the ultimately desirable destination for those looking to start their life anew.

Not everyone is thrilled with the waves of immigration washing our shores, a sentiment which has led to public outcry and funding cuts by the government.

Nevertheless, the British Council supports immigration through its online resources for people who want to learn English online. You might be interested to know that almost every language school in the UK offers online courses.

Meanwhile, through various budget cuts, adult education ventures grow ever more financially crippled, so charities pick up the slack.

They offer English classes to anyone needing to build language proficiency before finding work and establishing themselves in Glasgow.

To learn more about them and other resources for English learners, you may refer to this expanded list.

Edinburgh’s Generous ESOL Class Offerings

In case you were wondering about the two cities ahead of Glasgow on the GDP per capita rankings: they are London and Edinburgh.

Not to be outdone, Scotland’s capital city is home to fine, historical universities, world-famous festivals and some of the most generous volunteer organisations to offer courses in English as a foreign language.

You can find an ESL teacher at your local community volunteer centre or in one of this city’s many language schools. Also, there are many charities that offer language courses and activities to enrich your communication skills.

Please see our companion articles for addresses and contact information for these groups, as well as more information on finding ESOL courses in Edinburgh.

Finding ESOL Lessons in Leeds

Travelling south, we find that Loiners are no less generous in their welcome of migrants and asylum seekers.

Although Leeds is not exactly high on the list of destinations for immigrants, there are rich pockets of multiculturalism and the City Council is actively promoting second language acquisition programs to draw more people to her.

One of the best language programs is called English 4 All; they teach important life skills lessons that are often overlooked in other English language courses.

Naturally, we cannot overlook the Basic Skills courses taught in other schools throughout the city. You can find them all listed in our article specifically about ESL resources in Leeds.

ESOL courses often do not look like regular classes
Many adult basic education ESOL courses involve students working together on projects Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Belfast ESOL Courses

How is this for a rather an odd statistic: the North Irish are considered migrants in England. In fact, several of the above-listed cities count the Northern Irish as their largest immigrant demographic.

That doesn’t mean that nobody immigrates to Belfast. Like most other UK cities, Belfast is quite generous when it comes to helping speakers of other languages learn English.

Some learning programs will ask you to take a placement test so they can see which class would best help you in your English language development. 

Others have advisors you can talk to. Those people are trained to detect your level of English based on your conversational skills.

The best way to integrate into the language and culture of Belfast is learning English so working on your English language proficiency would help you feel more at home in your adopted city.

You can read our longer article about ESOL classes in Belfast to find out the many schools and lessons open to you.

ESOL Courses Cardiff

Of all the cities featured in this article, Cardiff has perhaps the most relevant relationship with language learning; her own native language, to be specific.

In spite of the government initiative to ensure that the Welsh language doesn’t die out, they still have time, energy and resources to pour into English language instruction for anyone whose primary language is neither English nor Welsh.

If you are in Cardiff and you need to improve your English, you can find many volunteer organisations that have an active ESL program you can enrol in.

Besides that, you could take an ESL class in a language school or work on your reading and writing and English pronunciation with a private tutor.

We hope you will be comforted to find that many people want to help make your dream of living in the UK true; that is why there are so many language teachers and language training programs open to you, no matter where you choose to settle in this country.

Now read more about Cardiff language classes.

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A vagabond traveler whose first love is the written word, I advocate for continuous learning, cycling, and the joy only a beloved pet can bring. There is plenty else I am passionate about, but those three should do it, for now.