Referrals to ESOL assessments

ESOL Advice Service works with local colleges, adult learning providers and voluntary and community organisations to help Greater Manchester residents find an ESOL class that will meet their needs.  

If you’d like to make a referral, please submit a referral form. Check your customer’s postcode and select their local area.






Tameside (please email us at to make a referral to ESOL courses in Tameside)



Bolton (please email us at to make a referral to ESOL courses in Bolton)

You will need to provide your customer’s details such as their full name, date of birth, postcode and phone number. We will then contact your customer to arrange an assessment for an ESOL class in their local area or on the phone. 

We don’t currently have an ESOL Hub in Wigan.  Residents from those areas can be referred to an assessment if they are happy to study online or outside their local area where we might be able to offer them a course. 

Please note that it may not be always possible for your customer to join an ESOL course straight away and they may need to wait for a place on a suitable course.

There are lots of ways to practise English while they are waiting for an assessment or for a place on a course.

ESOL Advice Sessions

Watch the video which explains the assessment at an ESOL Advice session.  We follow the same process in Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Bury, Oldham, Trafford, Stockport and Bolton. You only need ONE assessment for any of the ESOL courses in these areas of Greater Manchester.

Assessments are carried out on the phone and also in local venues, depending on the area. A teacher will ask your customer a few questions about themselves, where and when they can study and may also ask them to read and write a little if they can. This will help us decide which class is good for your customer. Your customer will need 30 minutes to do the assessment.  If they are offered an assessment in a local venue, they can bring a friend or a family member with them for support if they wish.

How long does it take to learn English?

There is no typical ESOL learner so it is impossible to provide a definitive answer to this important question.

Research has found that those who have lived in the UK for five years or less make more rapid progress than those settled residents who have lived in the UK for some time without learning English.

Dr Philida Schellekens conducted a review of relevant research in 2011, which established that it would take an average of 1,765 guided learning hours for ‘learners (including a proportion of learners with no literacy skills in the first language) to progress from pure beginner level to a point where they could undertake study of another subject or take on a job with routine communication requirements.’ As such the following predictions could be made for the length of time it could take for a learner to reach Level 1:

  • Full time FE students (450 glh a year) – 4 years
  • Adult learners who study ten hours per week over 30 weeks: five years and seven months
  • Adult learners studying for four hours a week over 30 weeks: 14 and a half years

However, the end point of formal study for many adult learners of English as an additional language is often below Level 1, as it is possible to operate in everyday life in many contexts at Entry 2 or Entry 3 and also possible for residents to continue improving their speaking and listening skills informally, through real life practice, once they have reached Entry 2 or 3.

NQF Level CEFR SQA (ESOL) Cambridge Trinity IELTS Band
Pre-Entry National 1
Entry 1 A1 National 2
Entry 2 A2 National 3 KET 0 3
Entry 3 B1 National 4 PET 1 4
Level 1 B2 National 5 FCE 11 5.5
Level 2 C1 National 6 CAE 111 6.
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