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Colleges say 'swathe of cuts' threatens adult education

(39 Posts)
Gracesgran Wed 25-Mar-15 08:54:27

So after 21 you could no longer have the opportunity to improve your career? What are the government thinking?

Martin Doel, the AoC's chief executive, said the cuts "could mean an end to the vital courses that provide skilled employees for the workforce, such as nurses and social care workers".

"Cumulative cuts of this magnitude are extremely difficult to absorb, and mean that those colleges and other providers who have a strong focus on adult learners may either go out of business or be forced to re-focus their attention on younger, pre-19 students."

"Once they hit 21 there won't be any support left.

"That is not a great scenario for a society in which people are living longer and wanting to contribute to society and work longer too."

I am afraid in many areas this is the start of what the next five years could bring.

Elegran Wed 25-Mar-15 12:17:38

jings "why doesn't the government grow one of these" - they have plenty of fertiliser for it.

NotTooOld Wed 25-Mar-15 12:27:26


absent Wed 25-Mar-15 23:04:10

Absentdaughter totally messed up her education from the age of 12. Now aged 32, she is studying for a degree in psychology through a distance learning university course. (She also took distance learning courses for the equivalent of A levels and some higher qualifications that she needed before being accepted for a degree course.) I think it is harder for her to study at this level than it was for me attending a university college when I was 19 or whatever. She has shown immense focus and is very assiduous about her assignments and her hard work is paying off with mostly A and A+ grades. She takes exams at a local centre. I don't think the tutorial cost is any less than it is for a full-time student attending the university in person and the text books are a mind-blowing price.

On the plus side, she and others on the course have a private Facebook group where they can discuss relevant topics and, occasionally, moan about the inadequacies of certain tutors.

Eloethan Thu 26-Mar-15 09:54:00

Why is education always seen in terms of employment? Of course, many people do take courses to develop new skills relating to their employment or to widen their skills so as to develop their careers.

However, education is not just about getting a job. It's about broadening one's knowledge of the world, acquiring practical, communication and thinking skills - and about learning to work harmoniously within a group.

Internet courses serve a purpose and are useful for some people but for older people in particular (or people who for whatever reason have become socially isolated), the social interaction that a face-to-face course involves is very important. Also, for those who have retired, adult education classes can give structure to the week, a chance to make new friends and a reason to go out.

No doubt some people will say, well, that's fine but why should we pay for such vague objectives? My feeling is that older people who stay active, keen to learn new skills and interested in the world are less likely to become mentally and/or physically ill, or at least more able to deal with those challenges if they arise. I don't think everything should be judged by how much it costs, but even on that criteria I think more money is ultimately going to be spent when older people become inactive.

At the other end of the age spectrum, if it is truly the case that anyone over 21 is no longer seen as a priority for further education, I think that is a most ridiculous situation. Surely we want to encourage young people who have perhaps not engaged very well at school to have another go at education. Do we really want a whole group of young people who have received only a very basic education have their options to improve on their education further limited? We really are going backwards.

jingle It's a matter of priorities. There appears to be a "money tree" that enable "free" schools to open up where they are not needed, to offer tax breaks to the wealthy, to fund any number of vanity projects, to build HS2, to retain Trident, etc. etc. etc.

Lilygran Thu 26-Mar-15 13:21:22

Very good post, Eloethan. Your question about the mechanistic approach to education is an excellent one but you won't get a sensible answer from any politician. Other equally pressing questions are, why do they always ignore research findings and why, having examined educational provision in 'more successful' countries do they do something completely different?

suzied Thu 26-Mar-15 19:33:19

I go to a fantastic adult ed college one day a week to do couture dressmaking and pattern cutting. Fees are about £300 per term, I couldn't afford more than that so I'd have to cut down to half a day or not go at all if the price goes up a lot. I love learning new skills and it's a social thing as well, great meeting up with a group of like minded people. Many practical courses couldn't be done online as they require specialist equipment etc.

selectmytutor Fri 27-Mar-15 06:43:44

Message deleted by Gransnet for breaking our forum guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Falconbird Fri 27-Mar-15 07:07:03

I worked for 20 years as an Essential Skills Tutor. The local authority abandoned the funding and it was taken up by a large FE college who didn't provide classes for people with real literacy and numeracy problems and were lacking IT skills.

I lost nearly all my work, but luckily I was 60 at the time. I staggered on for another year in a small college that was still providing Basic Skills, but then they were threatened with closure - so I retired.

I remember the days when there were long queues of people waiting to sign on for various classes. I don't think there's much out there now - and what there is, is expensive.

Gracesgran Fri 27-Mar-15 08:42:42

My daughter posted this on her Facebook page. For those who value FE colleges, you may feel it's worth signing the petition.

Please support! I am proud of the work of the FE sector, providing education and training to help people gain the skills and qualifications they need to get a good job, continue to higher education and succeed in life. To make sure that politicians understand the value of our work in the FE sector, delivered by 300 colleges in England, we need to highlight some key points. For example, a recent announcement confirmed that funding for adult courses will be cut by 24% next year. A petition has been set up to oppose this cut. I have signed it and I encourage you to do so. By maximising the number of signatures, in advance of the General Election, we can ensure that all political parties understand the importance of education and training. You can sign the petition here:^

Gracesgran Fri 27-Mar-15 08:44:52

Sorry the second link isn't working because I left a ^ in. The first one is OK.

annodomini Fri 27-Mar-15 09:35:32

Signed. Thanks, Gracesgran

Eloethan Fri 27-Mar-15 09:42:43

Thanks gracesgran. I've signed

Iam64 Fri 27-Mar-15 18:48:49

Thanks, I've signed