How to learn English for free when you move to England

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New in England? Learn how to join free ESOL courses.

When you first arrive in England from a foreign country, your knowledge of English probably isn't very good. If you are a citizen of the UK, a country within the European Economic Area or have lived in either for at least the last three years, then you should be eligible for UK government funding for your ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course. 

People with certain types of immigration status such as refugee status, discretionary, exceptional or indefinite leave to enter or to remain and their family members are also usually eligible. Courses are free if you receive Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are in the work-related activity group (WRAG). If you are unemployed and are receiving state benefits you may be able to study for free.

Speak to your local council for available courses

Many councils and housing associations have English language support for immigrants. Click here to find your local council and ask them about ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). They are likely to have many free resources, including videos and grammar exercises.

Check out the official ESOL hub

If you are in London, visit London's official ESOL hub online for the largest collection of free English language resources, as well as links and addresses for adult education services. This is one of the most helpful websites available for people who want to learn English.

You can find more adult education providers and, as many courses have gone online due to COVID, you can find helpful advice regarding online courses in your own language. There are even services for people with children or carer responsibilities.

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Learn English with British Council

Learn English is a website run by the British Council and has an amazing reputation for its high-quality English courses. You can get started immediately by identifying your skill level and they will recommend the right course for you.

Learn English has video and audio lessons, and even games to make the learning process more entertaining. This is completely flexible too, which is perfect for people with busy lives.

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Adult learning services

Did you know there are schools just for adults to learn English? Check out the BBC Learning Center for a wide selection of free courses, such as Business English or practice your grammar on Easy World of English and when you are ready, go to Duolingo, where you can get a Certified English Test certificate.

Free courses for adults are also available at Westminster Adults Education. These are suitable for anyone with UK residency, such as those registered with the EU Settlement Scheme, and many are free if you receive Universal Credit or earn less than £21,157.50 per year.

Join groups on social media

There are thousands of people just like you – you can find them in many places, such as Facebook Groups, which is great for language tips and writing practice. Learn English Grammar is one popular group but there are many others.

If you need to practice your conversational skills, find a group on Meetup. This is a safe and reliable way to make new friends. You can also check out Eventbrite for free and cheap seminars.

Ready to study?

When you are ready to study at a university level, our helpful advisors can find the right course for you. We offer free consultations and simulated interviews to help you prepare.

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