Cookie Consent by Privacy Policies Generator website

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) 16-18 year olds

Who is ESOL for?

We offer free ESOL courses to 16 - 18 year olds who do not have English as their first language. We will help you to develop your communication skills so you can access higher or further education and find employment or training. We will also help to develop personal, social and employability skills on our Pre-Employment Study Programme and there will be opportunity to undertake some work experience.

You will have the opportunity to work with students from many different countries: you'll make new friends, boost your confidence and learn how to read, write and speak clearly in English. We have previous experience of using these courses to help integrate young Syrian, Ukrainian and Afghan Refugees, and others, from around the world.

You will learn in a friendly, supportive online environment and at a pace to suit your needs.

Entry onto the ESOL courses depends on the individuals situation (for example if you/they are a refugee or asylum seeker). This will be established during initial contact. Please read below for ESOL course details.

Entry Requirements

UK/EU/EEA Residents (including Ukrainian refugees)

  • Has been a UK, EU or EEA resident, or is a family member of a UK or EEA national, continuously for the previous three years
  • Has the right to live and work in the UK, or has permission granted by the UK government to live in the UK
  • Aged 16-18

Non-UK/EU/EEA Residents

  • Aged 16-18
  • They have been in the UK for at least 6 months
  • They are a refugee
  • They are an asylum seeker currently applying for asylum, or have already obtained asylum

Initial Assessments

  • You must sit an assessment to join an ESOL course
  • Assessments are held at any convenient time for you and take place at Bennet House, Darlington. Assessments are not held on bank holidays or during school holidays
  • Assessments take approximately 1 hour
  • The level at which you join an ESOL course is dependent on your results of the initial assessment and any previous qualifications you may hold
  • You may incur a waiting period in between completing your assessment and starting lessons
  • Due to the nature of the assessments, they cannot be held online away from the centre


We offer ESOL at the following levels:

  • Pre Entry
  • Entry Level 1
  • Entry Level 2
  • Entry Level 3
  • Level 1 (equivalent to GCSE grade 1-3 / old graded D-G)

Course Content

ESOL aspect

  • The course cover general English topics including English language, words, spelling and grammar. You will learn to write basic text clearly and effectively, read confidently, write simple sentences and text and listen and speak clearly with other people. 

Study Programme aspect

  • These programmes are designed to improve learners preparation for adulthood, enhance their skills and improve confidence in social, academic and working lives ready for work or further educational opportunities. You can find more information on the Study Programme page.

Time and Location

  • You will attend at least two lessons per week either at the Coleridge Centre or Bennet House
  • You will also attend at least one Study Programme lesson per week at Benner House
  • ESOL courses are roll on/roll off - there is no set start or end date and you will work at your own pace
  • Courses are held on a variety of days and times, including evenings


Please bring:

  • a notepad
  • a pen (or a digital device) to take notes
  • a file to store your work
  • If you have one - a smartphone or device with translation software


ESOL is free of charge, providing you meet the eligibility criteria listed above.


  • You must sit a mandatory exam to achieve your ESOL qualification
  • Exams take place at The Coleridge Centre or Bennet House in Darlington
  • Under no circumstances can you sit your exam at home or at any other venue
  • Exams for ESOL in England are set by the Department for Education in cooperation with national exam boards. There are no nationally set dates and times for ESOL exams, you will only sit an exam after a period of study when your tutor and yourself mutually agree you are exam ready
  • Entry level learners carry out exams in an informal environment with appropriate support. Level 1 learners will sit a more formal exam.
  • There are no formal exams for the Pre-Employment Study Programmes


After this course has finished you may like to progress to the next level in ESOL which might be a higher Entry Level or Level 1. You can also progress to Functional Skills English Level 1 upon competing ESOL. You may also wish to join other courses delivered by Learning & Skills across a variety of areas. 

What do I do next?

Please contact us to book an initial assessment on 01325 405601, 07932 869325 or l&[email protected]and please let us know if you have been referred from the Job Centre.

Install our web app.