A Weekly Word from the RNN Group CEO and Principal, Jason Austin

In this week’s word, I interview Katie Curtis from the ESOL Department at Rotherham College:

Katie, tell us a little bit about the history of the ESOL department within the Group?

ESOL stands for English for Speakers of Other Languages. It is aimed at non-native English speakers, looking to take up a new language or validate their skills to enable them to integrate into everyday life situations in the UK.  ESOL has been offered here for over 20 years and there are currently around 400 students enrolled onto courses.

What courses do you offer in the ESOL department?The ESOL department at Rotherham College

Courses are offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels to cater for all abilities. Each course is designed to meet individual learning needs and we also provide advice and guidance on next steps. Our ESOL courses help improve learners with their English speaking and listening, reading and writing skills alongside improving maths and IT skills. Furthermore, learners also have the opportunity to take part in community projects, charity events and trips.

I know that the ESOL department in the Group is very popular. Why do you think this is so? 

We have a reputation among the community for delivering high-quality teaching. Our ESOL courses are taught in our excellent ESOL dedicated facilities. Students have access to our computer facilities and the wider College facilities such as the library, careers lounge, free Wi-Fi, advice and guidance.  Many of our courses are flexible and are often available in the evening, as well as the day time.  Finally, students have access to and can hear from a range of guest speakers from community organisations, employers and relevant services to support them in their personal and professional lives.

Tell me about some of the successes you have had with regard to former ESOL learners?

A huge number of our students have gone on to gain employment or progressed into other areas of the college or study at higher education level.  One former student has gone on to become of lecturer at Rotherham College!

What is the Department doing this month to celebrate Black History Month?

Students have undertaken some research on Black History Month and have produced some posters to go on display in the classrooms. Students have also researched famous individuals who have impacted history. Our U19’s have researched Martin Luther King and they will create a commemorative stamp as the result of this work.

What is your favourite quote and why?

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

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