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What the project does

At the moment, The Reading, Writing and ESOL Project is

running in certain hostels. To find out more, click here.

The Reading, Writing and ESOL Project offers people who have

been homeless the chance to study reading and writing and

English language. The project works in a way that

is trauma informed, flexible and offers different choices

for studying. 

A book with a hole in the middle that looks like a window. A ladder is leaning up to the window.

What does that mean in practice?

Trauma informed

Many people who have been homeless have had very difficult

experiences in their lives. Many will have experienced trauma

before becoming homeless (for a definition of trauma, click here).

There is more information on the link between trauma and

homelessness and on how trauma may affect learning on the Why this project is needed page of the website.

Everyone reacts to trauma differently. For some people, their experiences may affect them for a long time. Trauma can affect the way some people are able to learn new information, remember information and focus on things. All of this can affect how people learn.


Trauma informed.

There are ways of working that can be particularly helpful for people who have experienced trauma. This is how they are applied at The Reading, Writing and ESOL Project:

  • Time is taken for learners and I to get to know each other. It is recognised that having a good relationship, with time to develop respect and trust, is very important. 

  • When a learner chooses to come to sessions, these are regular and consistent, as agreed with learners.

  • Learners have choice in deciding how and when

   learning happens.

  • Learners and I identify learning goals together.

  • Learners and I agree a learning plan when they start working together which includes:

Two hand shaking to symbolise working together.
  1. what the learner hopes to get from the sessions.

  2. how they would like to be supported.

  3. the role of the teacher and what is asked of the learner.

  • Lessons begin with a check in to see how the learner is and how they are feeling.

  • Learners have the option of including relaxation exercises at the beginning and end of sessions. These help emotional regulation.

  • Lessons can include breaks or can finish early if a learner feels they need to.

  • When they register with the project, learners have the chance to talk about anything that has made learning hard in the past and how they would like to be helped with this now. 

  • Learners are given clear information about how they can communicate with me.

  • I discuss with learners what will happen if I have any concerns for their wellbeing while I am working with them (that I will talk to them about this and make their support worker aware).

  • Learners and I discuss how we will work with their support workers to help learners study.

  • Any changes to the learning routine are carefully managed. What is happening and why is talked about with the learner and their support worker (when needed). When possible, how changes happen will be agreed with learners.



Many learners who chose to take part in The Reading,

Writing and ESOL Project may have a number of different

commitments. The project offers flexibility in terms of

when and how learning takes place. This includes: 

A blackboard with the words 'Plan A' and 'Plan B' crossed out and 'Plan C' written underneath.

  • Offering learners different choices for how they study (explained below).

  • Sessions that are as long as is comfortable for learners (up to 1.5 hours a week).

  • Recognising that although it's important to have a routine for learning (for sessions to be at the same time and day each week), sometimes that is not possible for a learner, especially when they first start to study. In this situation we can agree a way of working that fits with what a learner can do at the time.

  • Encouraging regular attendance, while understanding that some learners may not be able to commit to this from the beginning of their studies. If a learner misses lessons the reasons for this will be discussed with them. We will look together for ways to make attending easier.

The most important thing is that a learner wants to study. Learners also need to agree to the study agreement for the project. This is that while working together we agree to:

  • Meet regularly to study/stay in touch about your studies.

  • Listen to each other.

  • Treat each other respectfully when we study together or communicate.

  • Let each other know as soon as possible if we will be late to a session or cannot come to a session.

  • Let each other know if we are having any difficulties working together, or with the study we are doing together.

Learners can add to the study agreement if they would like to.



There are different ways learners can choose to study. The different options are:

Multicoloured arrows coming together and going in different directions, to show choice.

Face to face lessons

Face to face_edited.png

I am able to offer face to face lessons in some hostels, in agreement with hostel managers. 

For a face to face lesson, I will arrange with hostel staff for a room to be free for our lesson each week. We meet there and study together.  

Telephone lessons 

An old fashioned telephone, to symbolise telephone lessons.

I send learning materials to learners or their keyworker each week.

The learner or their keyworker prints them off and we go through them together over the telephone.

 Online lessons 

An image of a computer screen, tablet and smartphone, to symbolise online learning.

Learners will need to have a smartphone with WhatsApp, a tablet or a laptop.


I email the resources to the learners or their keyworker who can print them off.


We can go through the resources on a video call.

OR we can work through activities through a shared screen.

Independent Learning

A silhouette of a person reading at a table, to symbolise independent learning.

I send the learner or their keyworker learning materials, which are printed.


The learners works on them in their own time and hands gives them to their keyworker when they are ready. Their keyworker then scans and sends them to me so that I can review/mark them.


The learner and I agree a time to speak to go over the work. This would happen over the telephone or online.

Face to face, telephone and online sessions can last for up to 1.5 hours (it doesn’t have to be that long and we can include breaks in that time).

While you are studying with the project, we will build up a learning portfolio, to show all your achievements.

We can also start to think about if you would like to:

  • Get support to start volunteering, training or employment.

  • Get support to start studying somewhere else.

A picture of a scroll to symbolise qualifications.
A signpost that says 'college' to symbolise helping people to study elsewhere.
An image that says 'CV' and has a magnifying glass over some of it. It represents employment support
  • ​Work towards a qualification.

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