Intensive Literacy and Numeracy – ESOL


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TEO eligibility

To be eligible to receive ILN – ESOL funding, a tertiary education organisation must be one of the following:

  • a university

  • an institute of technology and polytechnic (ITP)
  • a wānanga

  • a private training establishment (PTE)

  • a state school or state integrated school
  • a rural education activity programme (REAP) provider, or

  • a community organisation.

A TEO must continue to be quality assured throughout the funded period, as set out in Condition ESOL003.

A TEO must not subcontract its ILN – ESOL provision to another provider. See Condition ESOL010.

An ILN – ESOL-funded TEO must also have:

  • an effective assessment process for identifying a learner’s literacy and numeracy gains including use of the Starting Points option within the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool (Assessment Tool), and demonstrated expertise in delivery of ESOL to adult refuges and migrants.



Programme eligibility

Programmes funded through ILN – ESOL should target pre-literate learners or learners with very low English language and literacy skills, and must:

  • have English language and literacy outcomes

  • be taught by appropriately qualified and experienced educators

  • be flexible and tailored to respond to the particular needs of adult learners – for example, provision may be delivered at off-peak times for those in employment.  

Appropriately qualified and experienced educators are defined as people who have:

  • a specific qualification relating to teaching adults literacy and numeracy (such as the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education Vocational/Workplace) and

  • experience in teaching literacy and numeracy.

See Condition ESOL005.

Programmes must deliver the tuition intensively (at the intensity of 200 hours over a 10 to 26 week period) and at the volume of, on average, 200 hours of tuition per learner. See  Condition ESOL013.

In addition, it is expected that the tuition is provided to each learner face to face.

Programmes funded through ILN – ESOL must be delivered at no cost (fees-free) to learners. See Condition ESOL006

Learner eligibility

To be eligible to enrol in an ILN – ESOL funded programme, a learner must be one of the following:

  • a refugee (includes a protected person and people sponsored by a refugee or protected person), or
  • a migrant, or

  • a person for whom English is his or her second language.

An eligible learner must also:

  • be 16 years and over, and

  • have low English language and/or literacy skills, and

  • be a New Zealand citizen or resident.

For the avoidance of doubt, this includes the thirty Afghan interpreters who worked for the New Zealand-led Provincial Reconstruction team in Afghanistan and their dependants who were granted residency. See Paragraph 5 of the Specialised English for Speakers of Other Languages Funding Mechanism (PDF, 200 kb).

The TEC expects that learners are not enrolled in an ILN – ESOL programme if they are an enrolled secondary school student.


Low literacy and numeracy

"Low English language and/or literacy skills" means the learner has low English language skills and/or a low skill level in literacy and/or numeracy, as determined by the TEC. A "low skill level in literacy and/or numeracy" is defined in Condition ESOL004 as:

  • where a learner has less than 80 credits on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF), or

  • if the learner has more than 80 credits on the NZQF, the learner has less than 12 credits in literacy and/or numeracy unit standards/achievement standards, or

  • if the learner is assessed using the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool and presents below Step 1 in reading on the Learning Progressions, or

  • if the learner is assessed using Starting Points and presents at the equivalent of below Step 1 in reading on the Learning Progressions.

For the avoidance of doubt:

  • any learner who holds a level 4 (or above) qualification on the NZQF where the curriculum medium is English language is not considered to have a low skill level in literacy and numeracy.

Individual learners are eligible to be enrolled in, or enrolled in subsequent periods of, ILN – ESOL funded provision totalling a period of no more than five years, as long as the learner continues to meet the learner eligibility criteria. See Condition ESOL011.

TEC permission is not required to re-enrol an eligible learner. Data reported for any one learner enrolled in a programme will be considered as a whole (rather than distinct enrolments) unless more than 90 days has passed and/or the subsequent enrolment is for a different (i.e. higher level) programme.

Verifying learner eligibility and identity 

TEOs must ensure that learners are eligible to enrol in ILN – ESOL funded programmes. The TEC recommends TEOs use the following table to confirm learner eligibility and to verify learner identity.

TEOs can use one of the following methods to verify New Zealand citizenship or residency:

Type of student

Verification methods

1. A New Zealand citizen

a TEO can:

a)    confirm the student's citizenship status using the student’s NSN; or

b)    receive an assertion through RealMe® that the student was born in New Zealand (prior to 2005); or

c)    sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:

       i)      a New Zealand birth certificate; or

       ii)     a New Zealand passport; or

       iii)    a New Zealand certificate of citizenship; or

d)    if a student is unable to obtain a birth certificate for the purposes of (c)(i) above, contact the TEC to confirm that a whakapapa statement signed by both the student and a kaumātua is acceptable evidence of citizenship.

2. A New Zealand resident:

a TEO can sight an original or certified copy of one or more of the following documents:

a)    a passport with a current returning residency class visa (a passport with a visa label); or

b)    a passport, and letter or email, confirming current returning residency class visa (label-less visa, followed by confirmation with Immigration New Zealand, where appropriate); or

c)    a certificate of identity from Immigration New Zealand if the student is a refugee.

Note: To enquire about an individual student’s immigration status contact the Immigration Contact Centre at


  • Last changed: 18 February 2016
  • Last verified: 18 February 2016