English My Way Year 4: A continuing ESOL success story

The last few weeks have seen a fantastic start to the fourth year of our English My Way programme and to celebrate this, I’m very happy welcome 41 new organisations to the project, bringing the total of Online Centres delivering pre-entry level ESOL to 125

Last September, I marked the launch of Phase 3 of the English My Way Programme with my blog ‘English My Way Continues to Grow’ (a little bit frustrated that I can’t use such an apt blog title again). Now, almost a year later, it’s lovely to look back and see the programme go from strength to strength. To give you an idea of the coverage we now have, just take a look at this map, and our Year 3 Evaluation report has all the numbers.

As our recently published English My Way Infographic also shows, the programme has supported 13,548 learners in total, so far, and with an increased number of Online Centres delivering English My Way, we’ve committed to reaching another 7,000 adults through the programme before March 2018.

In the two years that I've worked at Good Things Foundation, I have always had a soft spot for English My Way, so I’m keen to ensure that all Online Centres, community organisations and libraries know what a fantastic programme it is and see how it could benefit the people they work with.

Not understanding the local language is a daunting situation for anyone, so to have the opportunity to join something that is not just about learning English, but also encourages you to socialise and feel included in the community can really excite and encourage people to start that journey.

One of the benefits of such a long standing, successful programme is having learners who have been with us from the start share the stories of their personal journeys that started at an Online Centre with English My Way. Stories like those of Tasweer Bi and Tasleem Akhtar are full of small but life changing outcomes, which many of us take for granted.

Reflecting and moving forward

Last year was a time for reflection on the success of the programme so far and to explore next steps to make the programme even better. As well as continuing to raise the profile of the programme, we are in a unique position as we are able to gain valuable insight from our Service Design and Innovation Team. This enables us to access learners and tutors feedback directly to help us shape the programme in the future.

The feedback from tutors and learners feels like we are moving in the right direction. There were so many positive stories, like that of like that of Nageswary Seevarantam at the Benn Partnership in Rugby (watch her story below) and Neighbours in Poplar, both examples from Online Centres new to the English My Way programme last year, with inspiring stories to share.

Stories like these are a great boost but the feedback we get also helps us make improvements to the site. Our work to make the website and its resources as user-friendly to tutors and as easy to navigate as possible continues.

However, the most progress will be found in the development of a brand new learner-facing English My Way mobile app. It’s relatively early days but we’re really excited about it and you can follow our progress on Tumblr. We’ll be visiting Online Centres to test and get feedback to help us with the agile development process. Stay tuned for further news.

In the meantime, if you want to know more about the programme I’d love to hear from you. We’re always looking for new partners who can support English My Way. Do get in touch at hello@goodthingsfoundation.org.