Man with headphones attends an online course at home

Concerns for government’s approach to adult learning

Lambeth Council has announced its concern over a perceived lack of support for adult learners, and has called on the Secretary of State for Education to do more.

The issues that the council are mainly concerned about stem around the level of accountability and funding for adult learning in the the consultation on Funding and Accountability, as well as not focusing on the right areas.

With the ongoing cost of living crisis, it would be easy for the government to simply focus on employment outcomes, however Lambeth believe that it would be a mistake to fail to recognise the value of upskilling. Upskilling would allow local people to maximise their social and economic benefits, which is crucial considering the ongoing situation.

In their announcement, they said:

“During the cost of living crisis, we believe it is more important than ever to support those looking for long-term learning as well as those seeking immediate employment. It is critical for adult learners to find a pathway into employment which enables them to be financially resilient, for themselves and their families, something that is even more important as families contend with the cost of living crisis.”

The council’s Cabinet Member for Inclusive Economy and Equalities, Cllr Jacqui Dyer, wrote a letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, stating their concern and the areas in which their concerns mainly lie. In the letter, Dyer said:

“I write as the Cabinet Member responsible for Inclusive Economy and Equalities at Lambeth Council to express deep concern about proposed changes to the model for funding and accountability currently being considered by the Department for Education for the Adult Education budget.

“In principle, Lambeth Council is in favour of a broad national model for funding, but we believe that the proposals currently being suggested could result in negative consequences, many of which will affect those of our residents who are most in need of support.”

The two areas of main concern stemmed around “the definition of need, and understanding of outcomes, in adult learning” and “the ringfencing of the Adult Education Budget.”

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