Last updated: 02.03.17

MPs demand national strategy for adult learning

MPs are placing increasing pressure on the government to produce a national strategy for adult education, amid worry over major cuts to skills funding since 2010.

Along with support from over 60 MPs, Labour backbencher and former skills minister, David Lammy, has written a letter to apprenticeships and skills minister, Robert Halfon, urging him to provide greater priority to lifelong learning.

Among the MPs who have signed the letter showing their support are Angela Rayner, shadow education secretary; Gordon Marsden, shadow further education and skills minister; and Chi Onwurah, chair of the all party parliamentary group for adult education.

The letter highlights the fact that adult learning funding has been slashed in recent years, with a 40 per cent cut to the adult skills budget between 2010 and 2015. In addition to this, in just a single year from 2014 to 2015, the number of adult learners fell by 10.8 per cent.

The number of adults achieving Level 4 awards or above has also decreased to just 3,900 - a staggering fall of 75 per cent in just two years.

The letter was prompted by a recent debate on Adult Education and the Future of Night Schools when Mr Halfon failed to confirm whether a strategy would be published and, if so, when.

Mr Lammy argues that Britain needs a “national strategy that works across departments in recognition of the huge range of beneficial outcomes that adult education has for individuals, our economy and society in general”.

“When education and skills provision does not keep up with a changing economy and jobs market then inequality is exacerbated and it is those at the bottom who lose out most,” it states.

The letter goes on to state that adults should have access to flexible and affordable education and training that will equip them for the modern jobs market, taking into account other commitments adults have as employers, parents and carers.


Training Journal