Gransnet forums


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.

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

Thanks, I've signed

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

Thanks gracesgran. I've signed

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

Signed. Thanks, Gracesgran

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.

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:^

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.

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

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

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


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 12:16:58

I too taught at an FE College for many years and tutored several Access courses along the way. Anno is right, they were a brilliant way for people who missed out at school to gain confidence and, in many cases, a university place and in case anyone is thinking they must have been a doddle to teach, they were not! The pastoral care required of the tutor was a major part of the workload although the end results could be very rewarding.

Years ago, government withdrew the funding for adult non-vocational courses which I always thought was a huge shame as they provided a brilliant service for the poor, the retired and anyone else wishing to learn a new skill. Now it seems vocational courses for older people are going the same way. How very sad.

Gracesgran Wed 25-Mar-15 11:39:04

I posted the OP early and then got called away so I am pleased to find with the exception of JBF that you seem to be as concerned as I am.

Jane10 said "Might this mean that Universities could step in and increase their range of more practical courses? Distance learning? Different ways of acquiring the education that people need beyond going to a set location?"

My feeling would be that the courses so many people need for to their jobs or for continued education will only be available from private companies. It seems to me to be likely that this is more privatisation by the back door.

Sadly, if these colleges close the offering to 16 to 19 year old student will be diminished too as the college courses will have to be offered by schools.

It may work, we may need changes, but I doubt that it has been thought through with the students in mind.

janerowena Wed 25-Mar-15 11:10:28

It can, and also most adults need the classes to be in the evenings as they are trying to work at the same time as study.

A now-empty school in our area (due to new academy being opened) is now virtually fully used by evening classes and groups. It's amazing what goes on there. It's only been going for a year, I think there will be an awful lot of very upset people.

soontobe Wed 25-Mar-15 11:06:31

And a bit pot luck as regards tutors.

soontobe Wed 25-Mar-15 11:05:54

Doing courses online can be a hard slog.

jinglbellsfrocks Wed 25-Mar-15 11:00:32

why doesn't the government grow one of these

annodomini Wed 25-Mar-15 10:56:24

Bez, you have made the points I would have made. My mature students found it beneficial to bounce ideas off one another. They had life experience to bring to my courses in Literature and Cultural Studies. I could say that I learnt a good deal from them too. In addition, we functioned as personal tutors who would help our students to overcome situations which they might see as barriers to learning. It's staggering, for example, how many people fall at the first hurdle because they have never had a dyslexia assessment. After this has been diagnosed they realise that they aren't as thick as they were made to believe as teenagers, and they are able to take advantage of specialist tuition alongside the subjects they are studying. On-line courses? Not for these students.

Bez Wed 25-Mar-15 10:32:03

I personally think that 'going' to a college to study keeps people far more focused and also I. So beneficial in many ways - debating the subject, hearing the views and ideas of others. To be studying alone just in front of a screen would be nothing like as good or comprehensive. Even people working at home because they can do all on line is not proving beneficial to all of them. What it costs in lost opportunities and also for people who cannot afford the latest equipment to down load the necessary paperwork etc - and have a good printer/scanner and whatever - that is what matters and is at stake. Money is not the be all and end all - many people in Govt have not struggled or know people who have to really understand circumstances.

jinglbellsfrocks Wed 25-Mar-15 10:07:46

But cheaper surely than college courses where a building and staff have to be maintained in addition to the make-up of the course itself?

rosequartz Wed 25-Mar-15 10:00:06

The picture accompanying the article shows a very elderly person - so is it really necessary for the Government to be funding adult education lessons for those in their 70s and 80s?
(ducks for cover)

This would seem to be a politically biased article and perhaps a complete rationalisation of further education is needed to sort out what this country needs for the future of both young people and the country.

Lilygran Wed 25-Mar-15 09:56:46

Online courses cost money as well! The material has to be designed by someone and kept up-to-date and the website has to be maintained, the work done by students has to be marked and discussed. And the learner has to have some IT expertise and confidence, access to the Internet and a computer. Some parts of the UK still can't get access to the Internet!

jinglbellsfrocks Wed 25-Mar-15 09:53:07

What do people get from going to college in person rather than learning from a computer, books, and occasional telephone mentoring?