About ESOL

Edexcel ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) qualifications help learners gain English literacy for use in education, employment and everyday life. Find out more about what ESOL qualifications are, who they are for and how they are assessed. 

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What are ESOL qualifications?

Edexcel ESOL qualifications support learners whose first language is not English. Learners are taught communication skills such as reading, writing, speaking and listening.
These qualifications have been developed in response to a call by the government and employers to have an increased level of basic English literacy in everyday life, education and employment. They are based on the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum and the National Standards for Adult Literacy.

QCF qualifications offer a certificate-sized qualification at each level comprising 3 units:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking and listening

Additionally, for the first time, QCF learners can receive an award-sized qualification for each of the 3 units (reading, writing, and speaking and listening). This means that learners who achieve a single writing or reading unit will get a qualification certificate.

ESOL qualifications give learners the competence and confidence to use their English skills in their studies and employment and other areas of their life. They give learners the opportunity to:

  • develop their English language knowledge and skills
  • achieve a nationally recognised qualification
  • develop personal growth and engagement in learning
  • develop English skills for personal and employment-related application. 

All ESOL qualifications are individually assessed by an externally set paper-based test or task. QCF ESOL is internally verified and a Pearson Standards Verifier samples assessment to check for quality assurance and the maintenance of standards.

Edexcel ESOL qualifications are designed to be studied full or part time by pre-16, 16-19 or adult learners whose native language is not English and who live or plan to live in the UK. These learners typically include refugees, asylum seekers, those from settled communities and partners or spouses of people settled in the UK.

ESOL qualifications are suitable for learners who:

  • are learning English for the first time
  • have previously studied English and want to measure their abilities against a commonly recognized framework.

How do learners progress with ESOL qualifications?

Learners who have achieved a Pearson Edexcel Award or Certificate in ESOL Skills for Life qualification can progress to the next level of the qualification. Alternatively, they can progress to Functional Skills English units or, for 16- to 19-year-old learners, to GCSE English or other English qualifications. Learners can use their learning and achievement to support their employment aims and progression in their chosen career.