ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) qualifications are designed to help learners to develop English skills and build confidence in using English in everyday life, education, and employment.

Gateway Qualifications’ ESOL Skills for Life qualifications are developed with ESOL experts and tutors to offer the flexibility required to meet your learners’ needs alongside robust assessment.

On-demand assessments with real-life tasks that learners can relate to at every level ensure your learners are better placed to achieve their goals and progress to higher-level qualifications and employment.

Discover how to enhance your ESOL learners educational experience with complementary qualifications, including Living & Working in the UK qualifications, Essential Digital Skills Qualifications and Digital Functional Skills. All these qualifications are designed to offer learners the opportunity to support your learners with developing their core knowledge and skills.

Qualifications Available:

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Bring out the best in your ESOL learners:

To help you maximize the potential of your ESOL learners, watch our on-demand Centre support and training sessions.

Reading and Writing    Speaking and Listening

Free teaching and learning resources

Including a booklets covering a range of topics, and guidance on how assessments can be contextualised for each learners needs.

Living and Working in the UK qualifications

The Gateway Qualifications suite of Living and Working in the UK qualifications is intended to support centres delivering programmes to develop learners’ understanding of key aspects of British society. The Entry 1 to Level 1 Awards have been developed primarily for use with learners relatively new to the UK who may also be learning English as an additional language. However, centres may find them equally appropriate for other learners working at Entry and Level 1 who wish to improve their understanding of core aspects of British society.

The Living and Working in the UK suite was awarded Qualification of the Year at the Federation of Awarding Bodies’ annual FAB Awards in November 2023.

The Living and Working in the UK suite includes:


The Gateway Qualifications Entry Level Award in Introduction to English for Non-native Speakers (Entry 1) qualification covers very basic speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. All units are mandatory and the qualification covers the essential English language skills to be taught to the intended target group. However, most learners joining an Entry 1 ESOL course will already have or be able to acquire these skills very quickly.

The qualification is an accredited alternative to a RARPA-based approach, and achievement can be used as an indicator that a learner is ready for an E1 ESOL course/qualification.

The Education and Training Foundation has some helpful resources on their Learners New to ESOL page.

Key features of our ESOL qualifications

Credible qualifications

Gateway Qualifications is the Ministry of Justice’s choice as the sole Awarding Organisation for the delivery of ESOL for Prison Education. Visit our dedicated offender learning page if you are delivering in the secure environment – we can help you deliver more than ESOL!

ESOL teaching and learning resources

A collection of support materials for those delivering ESOL, which can be accessed through Prism for Centres that have been approved to run ESOL. However, we have also made a few resources available for cEntres that are not delivering ESOL with us.

Additional funding available

ESOL Skills for Life are the only qualifications where you can claim additional funding for delivery for adults when your teaching time exceeds the maximum published Guided Learning Hours (GLH) for the qualification.

Certificate awarded at no additional cost

Certificates in ESOL Skills for Life are awarded at no additional charge once a learner has successfully completed all three components. Certificates are awarded at the level of the lowest achieved component.

I want to run these qualifications

Complete our online form to enquire about running these qualifications and a member of our Business Development team will be in touch.

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If you’re not yet a recognised centre, find out what’s required and discuss your requirements with our Business Development team.

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  • Assessments are available on-demand and can be booked during evening and weekends
  • No minimum time period between assessment attempts
  • Assessment tasks based on life skills and everyday situations
  • All Entry Level and Speaking and Listening at Level 1 & 2 assessments can be contextualised by Centres
  • Entry Level assessment tasks can be taken on different days and times
  • Each component is available individually as an Award (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening) or as an overarching Certificate
  • Learners can ‘spike up’ a level as part of the certificate
  • All assessments internally marked and externally quality assured (with the exception of Level 2 Reading and Writing which is externally marked)

ESOL Sample Assessments

A qualification that is adaptable to a learners’ personal and environmental needs

A case study on how HMP Bronzefield use bespoke qualifications to boost confidence and help people become more employable

HMP Bronzefield: Case study

Supporting whitepapers

ESOL and Digital

Embedding ESOL in Vocational and Employability Contexts