Introduction: About the Gatehouse Awards ESOL Skills for Life Qualifications

The Gatehouse Awards ESOL Skills for Life qualifications are based on the National Standards for Adult Literacy and demonstrate a clear relationship to the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum. They are designed for adult Candidates who live in the UK and who are not native speakers of the English language. The aim of these qualifications is to enable Candidates to develop their Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing skills across Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3, Level 1, and Level 2 assisting them to prepare for the world of education, work and participation in the community and wider society.

Qualification Aims and Objectives

The aim of the ESOL Skills for Life qualifications is to demonstrate a Candidate’s ability to communicate using the English language across Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3, Level 1, and Level 2. This requires the Candidate to be able to listen and respond, speak to communicate and engage in discussions, read and understand texts, and write in English effectively, using appropriate grammar and vocabulary in a variety of everyday situations.


The GA Certificate in ESOL Skills for Life is designed to assess the Candidate’s competency in the skills of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing, with individual Awards available in Speaking and Listening, Reading, and Writing.


The overall aims of these qualifications are to enable Candidates to:

  • access and take full part in the world of work
  • access and take part in further education and study
  • access a variety of service providers in the UK
  • independently function within and outside their community, including travel, study, work and socialising
Key Features
  • All assessments at all levels are produced by Gatehouse Awards and made available to Centres upon request. Assessments are conducted, assessed and internally moderated by Centre staff, and then externally moderated by Gatehouse Awards’ experienced and supportive moderators. They can be conducted by teachers in a classroom setting: controlled assessments rather than formal exams.
  • Assessments can be conducted at times that are suitable to Centres and Candidates – there are no ‘assessment windows’ and can be completed in ‘bite-size’ pieces, a task at a time. Candidates can gain an overall Certificate when taking Speaking and Listening, Reading, and Writing at the same level, or gain individual skill Awards where learners progress in their skills at different rates i.e. a ‘spiky profile’.
  • Learners with achievements from other ESOL qualifications can have their prior learning recognised by Gatehouse Awards.
  • Full guidance is given to teachers and assessors in the form of unit standards, unit amplification, mark schemes and guidance on marking every assessment task and clear Key Language items mapped to each skill at each level. All assessment paperwork is clear, simple and easy to use – for both Candidates and Centre staff.
  • Direct Claims Status is available for Centres who can demonstrate a consistent commitment to high quality assurance, assessment and delivery standards.
  • Qualifications consist of independently-developed units, mapped to the Adult ESOL Core Curriculum, but bringing a new approach to delivery, assessment and quality assurance.
  • Learners do not have to meet every single Assessment Criteria in order to achieve (as in the QCF qualifications), they can achieve on a pass-percentage basis instead.
  • A range of free resources to assist tutors and internal verifiers

Already an Approved Centre? Apply for Qualification Approval.