Gransnet forums


Whatever happened to Adult Education classes?

(64 Posts)
mrsmopp Sun 10-Feb-13 19:48:37

Not too long ago we could go to our local Adult Education centre and for a modest fee there was huge choice of classes, from GCSEs, A levels, Keep fit, photography, Art, the list was endless. There were sessions every morning, afternoon and evenings. It was very well supported, and there were long queues on enrolment days.
Now it's an English Language school for immigrants. That's it.
What went wrong?
We just don't realise what we have lost.

absent Sun 10-Feb-13 19:56:10

W still have a reasonable range of classes for adults, from foreign languages to family history, but they are very much more expensive than they used to be. Also students sign up and then drop out – sometimes for a good reason, often because they just can't be bothered. There is a tipping point when too few students means the class isn't financially viable, so it's cancelled.

jennycockerspaniel Sun 10-Feb-13 20:02:36

There used be a reduced rate fir Senir Ctizens but that stopped I belong to the U3A and have a lot of interests we canjoin in I take poetry ,Play reading singing for leasureand outings at dor dor transport there is a yearly membership and £1 insurnce per class If you are interested there will be a local U3A near you snd they have a website hooe his helpd

mrsmopp Sun 10-Feb-13 20:02:55

Yes, I think the government cut the subsidies a few years ago making the classes much more expensive. We used to pay £25 for a 10 week course. The cost went to to an amount most people could not afford, so classes closed or didn't run at all. Such a shame. I think it's a great loss. I'm retired now and would love the chance to try some new interests, meet new people, etc.

I suppose I could always go and help teach English to the immigrants.......

HildaW Sun 10-Feb-13 20:28:12

The funding was axed quite a few years ago.

Lilygran Sun 10-Feb-13 20:58:44

They redefined education as vocational training. In the 1990s.

absent Sun 10-Feb-13 21:00:07

mrsmopp I taught English to immigrants, as a volunteer, in their own homes for some years and it was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things I have ever done. I also taught a class of Chinese mums while their children were having lessons in Chinese calligraphy. I made loads of friends among a huge range of nationalities. If you have the opportunity, I urge you to go and do it. Unfortunately, I don't know of any such volunteer schemes where I live now.

annodomini Sun 10-Feb-13 21:17:02

A good many years ago I tried to learn Italian at evening class. Every little bit of learning had to be ticked off in a box. Can you say your name?.... tick; where do you live? ....tick. This was an exercise to prove that they were awarding some kind of piddling qualification. This, to me, was an impediment to the flow of learning - and anyway the teacher was useless, so, for the first time ever I opted out of the class. The colleges can't call a class simply a leisure class - they have to have some kind of proof that the students didn't just do the course for enjoyment.

Lilygran Sun 10-Feb-13 21:29:08

Exactly! Whoever heard of learning stuff for enjoyment? Or for its own sake?

absent Sun 10-Feb-13 21:35:40

Lilygran Go and wash out your mouth with soap and water. grin

Lilygran Sun 10-Feb-13 21:49:19

absent grin

Elegran Sun 10-Feb-13 22:03:43

Move to Edinburgh and you will find plenty of courses.

Here is the web page

I go to the "Animals:twenty-first century zoo" one (have been going to courses at the zoo for fifteen years, and had no repeats, always interesting) and last term I went to lectures at Surgeon's Hall Museum, the home of the The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. Among the talks was one on the originals on whom Arthur Conan Doyle based his character Sherlock Holmes.

FlicketyB Mon 11-Feb-13 09:55:09

The labour government removed the funding for all courses that were not directly vocational and assessed.

I was a regular attender at classes run by the extra-mural departments of two local universities. One has shut down completely because the funding completely disappeared and the cost of classes therefore became so expensive attendance fell drastically. One day school I attended went up in price from £12.00 to £27.00 over 5 years and numbers attending halved.

The other university still runs a lot of classes but now the organisation is very formal. We have to write at least one essay every term have personal assessments and later get a certificate for how many CATS points we have earned. If we earn enough of these points they can be used towards the number of points you need to earn to progress from year 1 to year 2 of a first degree course. I now have enough of these certificates to paper my living room and skip the first year of about 5 different degree courses.

MargaretX Mon 11-Feb-13 10:00:19

I taught German in Stockport and Manchester and the evening schools were teeming with people at 7 p.m. when I arrived. That was in 1990.
During that time things started to disintegrate. I was told by the Head not to teach grammar as that frightened pupils off. 'just conversation'
Of course we all ignored her as you can't teach just conversation to adults. To pick up a language through conversation you have to be a child. The students were not there for enjoyment, they were businessmen, who realised that doing business in Germany speaking only English was a sure way not to get the best contract.
Then there had to be exams. So we had exams after two terms with no (official) grammar. What a fiasco!
I was relieved to get back to Germany where I taught English. I also taught 'The Cambridge Certificate of English', which the UK expect other nations to learn and ALL the grammar that belongs to the two year extensive course.
A lot of English people couldn't pass it and I have not heard that it has become simpler either.
I pay €95(£80) for evening French - with grammar- for one term. But there are only 5 in the class so we have fewer evenings. There has to be enough money coming in to pay the teachers who earn far more than the basic wage.

ayse Mon 11-Feb-13 13:42:58

How about trying the WEA -

Not sure but I think they might be part of Learning for Life - we have one in Newcastle and I'm looking forward to retiring so I can try both U3A and Learning for Life Centre.


HildaW Mon 11-Feb-13 14:48:56

Try your local U3A for courses..........its amazing what some offer. They are a bit more 'self-help' but depending on who leads them they can be great fun and fascinating.

suffolklass Wed 20-Mar-13 13:38:46

Why not do an online course, like to Love to Learn ones on Gransnet? They are always available when you have a spare 30 mins or so, and reasonably priced

Eloethan Wed 20-Mar-13 16:59:47

I agree the adult education classes are very expensive now. As others have said, it's this obsession with making people "employable" that has caused it. It seems short sighted to me, given that people are living longer, and research has shown that keeping active, engaging with the community and having interests prolongs physical and mental health.

I go to a WEA theatre studies class, which is enjoyable and cheaper than AE. I think they have a pretty good choice of classes, particularly in and around cities. I also go to the Mary Ward Centre near Holborn, Central London, for a Creative Writing class, which is reasonably priced.

Online courses are very good but don't provide an opportunity to be part of a sociable group - chatting and discussing things that you're studying.

MarkTheReikiMan Fri 22-Mar-13 18:40:01

It all happened when they took the Community out of Community Education...

buffersmoll Fri 22-Mar-13 21:00:51

Ah London!!! One can take 'the girl out of London' but can't take London out of the ........
In the deep dark districts where you 'can't do that there e're' in retuurn for tranquility one must do with out or the W I.

In London there was a choice of classes or different Boroughs classes.

Down among the NIMBY one has to be greatful for the lack of contact inforced by the lack of busses to get where. I'm sure mrsmopp is right though
come the need to teach to others............

Elegran Fri 22-Mar-13 21:35:56

Do they go all nimbyish, buffersmoll and say "can't do that there 'ere" to classes? They do sound odd. I have always found that people want more adult education classes wherever they are, big city or out where the air and water are new.

It is not economic, of course, to put on hundreds of different classes when the number of people within reach of them with their own transport is not going to fill them up and pay for them. A car is essential when the bus routes are for the benefit of the bus companies, not the passengers.

Do you get no contact at all from your neighbours? It sounds as though that pleases you. Did you move out of London against your will?

Grammar Sat 31-Jan-15 17:35:50

Future Learn has an excellent range of free online courses from top universities and cultural institutions.

janerowena Sat 31-Jan-15 20:25:30

Thank you for that, some of them look really interesting.

janerowena Sat 31-Jan-15 20:27:55

WEA died in my area as I moved here, sadly. In fact when I went to their HQ 6 years ago the only course available was english for immigrants. But U3A is just starting up this year, and looks quite promising.

hildajenniJ Sat 31-Jan-15 21:03:03

I would love to take up yoga again. It is years since I did any. Our local adult education classes take place in several different venues as this is a rural area. I need a class in the afternoon as I go to bed early in the evening to be up for work at 04.00 Guess what, no afternoon yoga available at any of the venues.sad