The Path To English

Wednesday 9 January

11.00am-11.30am

BBC RADIO 4

Bobby Friction talks to adults who are learning English from scratch in the UK. Many of them are immigrants or refugees from different communities and countries who arrive with little English and quickly have to adapt.

The programme explores how they felt living in a country where they were unable to communicate and how they dealt with everyday situations like getting on a bus, shopping, going to a school or visiting a doctor. We hear what English course provisions there are for people eager to enhance their language skills, and Bobby discovers the challenges in funding English courses.

He visits the Sparkhill Adult Education Centre in Birmingham and speaks to teachers and pupils learning English through ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). Bobby also discovers a community on the Soho Road in Birmingham which exists perfectly happily, running businesses and contributing to society while speaking very little English.

He then heads to the Chinese community of Manchester where the women in particular struggle with communication and to Hertfordshire where he meets a group of Eastern European supermarket workers who are being taught English by their employer, Asda.

Producer /Laura Parfitt, A White Pebble Media production

BBC Radio 4 Publicity

BBC Radio 4 Publicity