English Language Guidance
We recognise that refugees will have different levels of English and may want to improve their English skills. Please find below a list of resources open to you.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and inclusion is not an endorsement by the Refugee Employment Network or its partners.
We strongly encourage you to explore local support networks and offerings by councils/local government in their area too. Please continue to check this page for new resources.
Open University – Free online English courses, mathematics
The Open University (OU) offer a series of free online courses aimed at supporting refugees. These include a series of lessons on ‘Everyday English’ along with more in-depth topics, such as ‘English grammar in context’ and ‘Languages at work’. Additionally, the OU offers a series of free mathematics and numeracy courses that are taught in English. On completion of each course, learners will receive a certificate to evidence their participation.
Oxford International Education Group – Free online English courses
The Oxford International Education group is offering two free self-guided English Language courses on ‘English for Culture’ and ‘English for Business’ which are delivered via their Digital Institute, available on smartphones, tablets and laptops. Upon completion, students will receive a certificate of completion. There is also an option to enrol for examination during the fourth week of the course.
BBC (British Broadcasting Company) – Free online English courses
The BBC offers a selection of online English learning courses, including grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. They also have short activities to help you determine which level of proficiency you are currently at and tailor course options from this.
Education and Training Foundation – Learner’s area
The Education and Training Foundation offer materials for learners of English across a wide array of areas such as ‘UK Life’; ‘English for Work’ and ‘Grammar and Vocabulary’. These can be completed individually or as part of the teaching resources as discussed below.
British Council – Online English courses (subscription, free trial available)
The British Council offers 100% online teacher lead bespoke courses designed for adult learners. Lessons cover both English Language and English for the workplace. There is a monthly subscription fee; however the Council does offer a free 7-day trial.
National Careers Service – Find a course in your area, online courses
The National Careers Service (NCS) has databases for free courses or paid for courses run in your local area, including English language as well as other courses that may be of interest. The NCS also offers a range of online courses in its ‘Skills Toolkit’ that you may wish to explore further.
Support for teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) can be found below
British Council – ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
The British council offers courses designed for teaching English as second language and is aimed at supporting teachers by providing guidance on teaching methodologies as well as resources to utilise. The British Council also have a dedicated YouTube channel to support teaching too.
Education and Training Foundation – ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
Similar to the British Council, the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) brings together a collection of resources that it finds useful for aiding teaching of English and is inclusive of the British Council as well as its own material and other parties too.
- Open University – Free online courses for refugees
- Oxford International Education Group – Free online English courses for refugees
- BBC – Learning English
- English Education and Training Foundation – Learners Area
- British Council – Learn English
- National Careers Service – Find a course
- British Council – ESOL
- British Council – ESOL You Tube Channel
- English Education and Training Foundation – ESOL