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ILAs were a disaster last time - why not just an entitlement to lifelong/ adult/ community/ further and higher, ie. tertiary education. (Patrick Ainley, Editorial Board member, Post-16 Educator)
After the 2nd world war, Sir Richard Livingstone called for every local authority to open a residential adult education centre, saying there would be lots of redundant stately homes after the war. Now there will be lots of redundant city centre premises: couldn't they be turned into community learning centres?
@Patrick: what wd the ‘entitlement’ be?
Excellent point John Holford
Community Learning Centres sound nice but what is wrong with FE colleges? (Patrick Ainley, Editorial Board member, Post-16 Educator)
I like the 'bite size courses' comment. That certainly lends itself to micro credentials. There has to be some standardization of how they are transcripted.
FE colleges are not always the right place for community members to begin relearning
Hi Tom! Entitlement to free further and higher/ lifelong/ adult/ community education.
not sure that FE colleges are adult friendly or welcoming for older learners?
Hi Patrick! all of it for free?
Do please put your direct questions to the panellists in the Q and A box!
FE Colleges were linked into community provision as a matter of course, would therefore seem the most appropriate place to house community learning centre/s. Of course the adult element in FE colleges has gradually been excluded - cuts in adult A level programmes, reduction in Access etc. Less adult friendly by design @Philip
'Skills' have become so ubiquitous as to be meaningless. They just mean certificates!
Town centres can offer a hub but engaging more and different learners requires spokes into neighbourhoods, partnerships, listening and responding to those people who feel learning is not for them… FE colleges must be part of the network and supportive progression routes but their centralised approaches don’t reach those with low or no qualifications. Isn’t it about a strong network of providers which offer diversity of routes?
Do colleagues not agree that adults need an education more akin to a climbing frame than a ladder, so their learning can take any direction according to need? In which case, surely we need comprehensive LOCAL curricula, with co-operation between providers - or at the least - effective local info, advice & guidance?
Adult Ed should be part of Tertiary level further and higher ed. to which there should be a free entitlement as and when required for education/ training and retraining or creation and recreation.
When I was young living on a council estate in West Bromwich therer were three local schools on the estate offering adult education. Last time I looked there was only one centre for the whole metropolitan borough of Sandwell.
existing ACE services /centres/institutions are delivering to over 500,000 adult learners every year and are ready to grow. they do both skills and wellbeing but get no recognition. lets build on the best
Agree@Susan P: but how do we get policy-makers to not only recognise but understand the impact of ACE? The evidence is clear but there seem to be lots of blind-spots.
Jan, FE reaches those from basic level on, eg the numbers with special educational needs. Also to create a career ladder for carers if anyone is ever going to do anything about relating Care to the NHS!
Humane and civic education - both central strands in the 1919 Report - for personal emancipation and for collective action
they need to listen to Robert Halfon and they take note of the budget paper Build Back Better which spells out why basic skills are so important
Please put your questions in the Q and A box!
Like the metaphor climbing frame not ladder - we need routes and bridges - bite size and substantial - locally based and centrally located - second chance and fast track … isn't this an argument for (democratically accountable, inclusive) local / regional post16 / adult systems - not a mix of competition and temporary compacts between separate organisations?
Various organisations like the WEA, co-ops etc existed after the 1st War to provide spaces in which people could learn together. Where might these spaces exist now in a highly individualised society?
Does anyone seriously believe this government seriously intends to 'build back better'? I don't!
Simon Parkinson - WEA
What about an accessible rampway which meanders back and forth so adults can move at a pace that is appropriate for them. Even if at some point you look further away than where you started from!
WEA in the last full year before covid attracted just short of 50,000 students. It seems like those traditional spaces remain stubbornley popular.
Alan mentioned peer learning: huge scope here for tapping human resources, by enabling people to swap their knowledge and expertise. Enabling this to happen is a job for skilled professionals - can we bring more of these on?
@Patrick - Agree. Cutting Union Learn is indicative. As far as you can get from 'radical worker education' - sold by the TUC as exemplary collaboration - focus on the kinds of basic skills givt. ministers say they support. Yet cut. Ideological?
'Roundedness' is a class code for 'a jolly good chap' - you would not call a woman well-rounded!
unionlearn uses a climbing frame for guidance and peer to peer support for learning. All there on the website. Due to the defunding of the Union Learning Fund though, many unionlearn staff are currently being made redundant. Shocking waste.
Totally ideological and an appalling waste. Agree completely
...but the job security etc should be for the benefit of the person, the individual. So much of the Skills Agenda seems to be talking about it as fulfilment of economic demand. Can we put the person first?
Do employers really need 'skilled' employees, re. the 'skills deficit'. If they do, they just employ graduates.
Isn't one of the prime purposes of adult/Tertiary education to underpin a healthy and vibrant democracy? Something that appears to be in jeopardy.. ..even before the full onset of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Lifelong learning should have been a key instrument in the development of every successful future high street fund bid. The 'new' high streets should have education and learning at the heart of creating a thriving town centre community.
What I struggle with is we know all the arguments about second chance, small steps, the personal and community benefits of learning etc.; so my question is why are we having to make the case all over again? Is this simply down to poor policy choices or is there something more going on?
Why can't part-time/ creative and recreative activities such as Robert Halfon suggests, take place in FE as they used to? Because F/HE has become limited to competence-based 'skills' training.
For over 25 years unions such as UNISON in partnership with the WEA ran free Return to Learn courses for workers who had missed out or had negative experiences of learning. This changed the lives of many thousands of workers.
Yes, perhaps before we look to 'new' departures we need to stop the rot. For example, although in Colchester we have a 'community learning centre' we did once have a locally-managed adult community college (sold and now a 5star luxury hotel) and our learning shop is now a bar/restaurant!
Totally agree Alan
@UoN I see a massive shift to the New Sills budget and an ebbing away of the old ASB, it'll be left to wither. The MCA areas are already funding on the skills model
The levelling up agenda appears to focus on the development of Free Ports with 'green industry' centres attached located close to Sea or Airports. The East Midlands Inland Free Port will no doubt draw workers from the 3 Cities of Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. Substantial investment is promised for the Free Ports but it is very unclear how this will be matched up with investment in the people living in the Cities/Towns. Global Britain but at what social cost locally?
Agree on the opportunities offered by high street changes - this is a real chance. (They planned to build a drop-in learning centre in to the huge Kent shopping centre 20 or more years ago).
How to integrate the 'instrumental'and 'educational': academicise the vocationalise and vocationalise the academic. (Real academicism is vocational anyway, eg. student/apprentice model leads to 'Mastery'.)
Lifetime skills guarantee just allows you to take out a loan the same as HE students now have to.
How much is due to the prioritisation of market forces? For Lifelong Learning the marketisation of the universities with the consequent disappearnce of theri extra-muc
'As simple as possible but no simpler.'
- sorry Extra Mural departments has been disastrous.
Sue Graham, Northumbria University
It is a Lifetime Skills Guarantee as long as a) you want to do the pre-approved courses (instrumentalist and linked to employer need) and it is only open to those who haven't got a Level 3 equivalent - many people have a level 3 but might still want to go back and do something else - but they do not seem to have access to this guarantee.
Why should we put the universities aside? They have tremendous resources, and need to look outward to their communities more. The Civic University Commission was really wise about this. What can be done to enable (or make) universities do more in education for all generations (not just for the young)?
Sue Graham, Northumbria University
Yes John H I agree - I work in a university and we are really committed to playing out part as a civic player
Me too, John H.
Totally agree with this. Local unis could make a huge contribution to the health and welfare of their communities
Excellent point John
Agree with Alan's point on Learning Cities and collaborative place-based approach
Not everybody wants to go on to Tertiary Ed when they leave school at 18, especially if there were alternatives to what was called 'go to uni or die'!
the levelling up research we have just published demonstrates that to help those below level 2 we need to increase funding - we stretched the present funding as far as it can go
A lot of universities are already doing this.
And a lot aren't anymore
A bottom up approach to designing a post16 / adult ed system - great idea. The most bottom up in the system - teachers and other staff in adult community and further education and the communities involved are routinely excluded from these policy discussions. Why?
The Centenary Commission recommended Adult Learning Partnerships at a local level, That would enable business, voluntary groups, communities, unions, schools, FE, universities all to decide priorities and delivery together.
Glad we all agree about learning centres on high streets. Need to reopen youth centres too!
Absolutely right @AlanTuckett so why doesn’t government link Skills for Jobs White Paper with a sensible White Paper on devolution and use the ‘leadership of place’ to align social educational and economic policies - no new structures are needed ! Civic universities are doing this now with Mayors
What happened to the Community Learning Trusts? - they were meant to be local and bottom-up.
local structures are best - LA services working with IfAL colleagues are sector best so could easily grow to become the organisation to deliver in each town city
Hear hear @SusanPember
Yes, @Karen E; we spent lots of time building CLT model…fizzled before it got off the ground
but shouldn’t we have another look at CLTs - where do we find the best summary for this?
@KarenE CLTs were not statutory duties so local authorities let them dwindle, our very strong one in Staffordshire lives on as the easy-access funding from the county council ACL, and they try really hard :)But agree they were a great model
we have worked out to level up to provide for those below level 2 is £5.2 billion annually
Few young people I support could afford the kind of lifelong learning described by Lord Bilimoria. I wish there was more talk about adult education being available to all and for free.
In NE Joseph Cowen Lifelong Learning Centre (an educational charity) has taken over the role of the universities in lifelong learning. We are member-run, have no income other than subscriptions, and limited infrastructure.. This is not a sustainable model, without support from local unis and local govt let alone central govt. How do we chip away at this?
Brilliant initiative in the NE!
Would like to know more about NE Joseph Cowen Lifelong Learning Centre (an educational charity)
I think the audit idea is very good.
Totally agree on need for short-term residential colleges - there used to over 35
Simon Parkinson - WEA
Lots of community assets and venues can support community based adult learning so is it an audit or is it a promotion campaign to articulate the value of adult learning?
there are a few left usually run by the renegades!
An audit would only pick up existing provision. So much valuable activity has been eradicated.
Don’t let residential colleges die!
Good point, Rob!
Excellent point Rob
There are a lot of us working in isolation [our Joseph Cowen LLC for one] - we could help each other more than we do
Yes, Alan. Ky skills essential to vcibrant communities as well as the world of work.
the adult education residential colleges are brilliant and well run but new funding rules not developed for them may have the unintended consequences of closing them -
Simon Parkinson - WEA
Joy is right we could connect this up better as a sector we don't need a govt led audit!
Good point @Joy.
Don't overlook the loss of the Public Library services - though that's also a syptom of the mindset that brought about this situation
LAs are well placed to be the ‘ring holders’ bringing together all the partners together to create local networks including Public Health, libraries as well as ACE, FE colleges, residential colleges and local Unis….but this takes time and money to get people functioning and articulating with one another.
yes there is an entitlement for adults for English maths and digital
its about where English isn't first language so ESOL
Why is Alison Wolf puzzled? There are a lot of basic skills and ESOL tutors working in vol. settings on precarious contracts. Glad Alison is passionate about it. Where has she been?
Joy, Croydon Council is bankrupt so what is reflex reaction? - close the libraries!
Massive lack of ESOL provision…it’s driven by the funding mechanism and qualifications…lots of voluntary orgs provide conversation groups and citizenship type of learning.
and pyramid schemes!!! ILAs that is
SureStart Centres, Public Libraries and adult education are all part of the same citizen care that help people to improve themselves and function as citizens. The austerity is killing them all at the same time as the services and benefits are all going online.
I think an audit could help by bringing the national situation into focus and by developing a communication locus. We can't work together if we don't know each other exist and/or where to find each other!
ESOL is cofounded and not formally part of the entitlement but many services/centres offer it free - we have been promised a strategy for ESOL
Nottingham City Council is in a very precarious position.. ..and 'on report' to an appointed steering committee with a mandate from the minister to accelerate austerity..
responsible bodies - going abck to 1919 report and later
National framework with local responses
I remember advising the dept about the fraud but was told it was not significant!
Professionalise lifelong learning teachers, by changing employment patterns and improving wages and conditions, otherwise it will always be precarious work and fragile provision. State providers should be strengthened to provide the core....
the 2007 regulations was supposed to deal with that but was then cancelled...
Yes for goodness sake don't rely solely on volunteers - we need professionals - besides, it's exhausting!
@Robert Halfon "pay it forward" then we only have to sub the first few years?
we could easily do learning accounts now, we have much more control over providers now
Professionalise lifelong learning teachers - but that is happening already with the WEA and other providers who organise courses for tutors and CPD.
Trust…not just control..
I thought we wanted to remove barriers
Odd isn't it? As a 16 year old I was in class with adults on an A level programme. My mate's dad did an engineering course at 'night school'. The college was busy 4 nights a week and on Saturdays. There was a broad non-voc programme … my mother did carpentry and made a knitting chest. There is a lot of passion for reinventing wheels :(
My sentiments exactly!
Centenary Commission on Adult Education
Yes, I think we can save and send this with the recording
Great! Thank you for distributing recording and chat
how do we take forward Alison and Roberts ideas?
I also wanted to say thanks for sharing chat - be great to have this!
Day release schemes and evening classes were so vital for so many people
Love Alison Wolf's idea of a simple local structure. Needs resources though
We must get beyond gimmicky devices. ILAs etc all very well and may be useful, but if he infrastructure is weak and fragmented, then many people won't have opportunities
thanks all! fab to chat and hear what's going on now
I think I'd ban 'hard-nosed' from all education discussions, if it were at all possible.
If ILAs are too complicated, those for whom they are most helpful may need to access…another barrier to be overcome…
I love the idea of maintenance grants for everyone. Hear! Hear! We think too much about selecting out. Spot on! @alantuckett
Let's get behind maintenance grants for everyone!
Valuable event, thank you to the organisers, speakers and to John Bercow for the moderation
Thanks - interesting event.
Thank you all
i wonder what the stats are on life expectancy vs education level??!!??!!
Very insightful talking points from the panelists. Thanks for this intellectually stimulating conversation.
Thank you for an excellent event
Wonderful conversations….clearly talking with the converted…we need some ‘nay sayers’ with us….Thank you everyone…
Thank you so much. Brilliant. I am now late for my next Zoom!1 That good. Thanks again.
A passion for reinventing the wheel! But yep shoulders to the wheel!!!
Thank you to all the panellists and the highly knowledgeable and engaged attendees….
@Jan is right - great stuff, but we need some contrarians
Great event, thank you. I am hopeful of some progress!! Thanks to John Bercow for his insigsht.
thanks - good debate if you want to know about what we should be doing on adult English and maths Esol and digital look on the FETL web site and read SFL 21-31
Thank you. I hope that the situation will get better and more funding is presented to the system.
An excellent discussion.
Inspiring - thank you. Encore!
Thank you so much - lets take these forward and form tangible outcomes…. For everyones futures!! This is an urgent matter that can’t wait!