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Your views on Adult and Community Education
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Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2008
Post: #1
30-11-2008 02:46 PM

Hi there

I'm a tutor at CEL (to declare my interest straight away) but I'm writing this in a personal capacity. I wanted to ask for your thoughts on the future of Adult and Community Education, both in and beyond SE23. This is my first post; hope the tone's not too formal or 'campaigny'!

As you may know, Central Government has been redirecting funding from what is called "personal and developmental learning" into employer-led Train to Gain" courses. This has meant the shutting down of lots of adult classes, with more to go over the next two years if current plans are not revised. Train to Gain's problems, including a ?100m underspend, have been well-documented, and the Government is frantically modifying the parameters in the hope of salvaging it.

Meanwhile, the so-called leisure courses that are a route back into education for some, a joy for others and an absolute lifeline for those without much other social contact, are dying out. Not only these, however: the three areas most affected by the cuts (around 1.5 million places lost) are Health and Social Care, Preparation for Working Life and IT. Finally and just as disturbingly, funding for people with learning difficulties and disabilities, and those with pre-Level 1 English and Maths, is frozen for the next few years (which presumably means cuts in real terms).

To oppose this trend, and to offer positive alternatives to a government clearly in dire need of help, a load of unions, professional associations and other local and national bodies (including the WI, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Church of England) have united under the banner of CALL - the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning ( As more jobs are lost, we urgently need more rather than fewer opportunities for adults to retrain, to grow, to increase their independence and interest in life, which is why this is such an important issue. (Also, it's free to sign up!)

Thanks for reading and I'd be very interested in any responses to this you may have. To put it in a teachery nutshell: 'Every adult matters. Discuss!'

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Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2007
Post: #2
01-12-2008 12:14 PM

The problem with 'Train-to-Gain' is that it's very inflexible - it makes me laugh when it says 'employer led' - it's employer led if the employer says they want to do an NVQ and not if it's not! Many employers want their staff to do Diplomas for example, but Train-to-Gain won't fund this as it's not 'full-fat'.

There is supposed some flexibilty though - the LSC will consider 'sector compacts', things put together by the Sector Skills Council for the sector. Basically, Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) should be putting a compact together with employers and presenting this to the LSC -whereby the LSC will fund courses like the ones you say have been cut. But it's a slow process.

The only other piece of good news is that the requirements put on the LSC by the DIUS (i.e that funded qualifications have to be so mnay guided learning hours) is going to change - maybe that's what you're referring to when you say 'frantically modifying the parameters'!

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