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Get a Private Label, Customized Online Coaching Platform to deliver your unique content and trainings! As part of the celebrations, there will be awards ceremonies taking place later in the year, showcasing achievements of outstanding individuals, tutors, employers and projects in England. The materials consist of Power Point slides with activities, information, handouts and links to resources online. For the first time in more than 50 years, the government has published a white paper on culture.
According to the charity’s 2015 impact research, 81 per cent of all students at the WEA are involved in more cultural activities, which include reading, following their participation in a WEA class - regardless of the subject. British politician and academic Lord David Blunkett delivered the keynote speech at the evening reception. Events such as these serve to reiterate the value of adult education – it is something which we must strive to protect given its life-enhancing and life-changing effect. Gender parity is the theme for this year and individuals and groups are being urged to take action in order to accelerate equality for all. As Christine Lagarde, chief executive of the IMF, said in the 2014 Dimbleby Lecture, women “face discrimination at birth, on the school bench, in the boardroom. Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, reminds us that far too few women run FTSE 100 companies and the pipeline of talent gets blocked by men who, more obviously, fit in. A survey carried out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2013 ranked England and Northern Ireland 14th for adult literacy and 16th for adult numeracy. According to the charity Go ON UK, nearly a quarter of the adult population lack basic digital skills, a phenomenon that affects women more than men, given time taken out because of childbirth.
Which is why the WEA helps thousands of working people and those in the poorest communities to return to education, whatever their age or income.
Leading an organisation was something that I thought was beyond my grasp when growing up in a small Welsh mining town in the 1960s.
My accent wasn’t right and the first time I was invited out for dinner I turned up at midday. Working in such a male dominated industry in the 1970s was no picnic and, despite coal being in my blood, career opportunities were non-existent for women.
The majority of our students are women and many of them use courses as a means to reskill or retrain.
The importance of this was recently confirmed by the Centre for the Modern Family, a think-tank established by Scottish Widows.
Globalisation has the potential to open up opportunities and to encourage wider participation – and global organisations need seriously to address widening and deepening the talent pool if they want to continue to be successful. Governments need to take tough action where human values of respect and dignity are compromised and we need to tackle head-on the biggest temptation of them all: to set our sights too low and quit the field when the battle is not yet won.
Almost one in four UK workers are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for more flexible working hours as pressure builds on employers struggling to live up to employees’ expectations.
Whilst the study of 2,000 adults and 500 businesses found that almost a third (32%) of employees with children felt their employer provided equal support for all, only 20% without children agreed, and a similar proportion (21%) of those without children claimed that parents received better support.
The findings showed employers’ responses reflected this perception, with more than half (51%) offering flexibility for mothers with young children. Whilst businesses appear to be taking steps towards meeting the needs of parents in the workplace, varying barriers still exist when it comes to extending those policies to support employees more widely. The study found that medium-sized businesses struggle the most – with almost a quarter (23%) saying they do what is legally required of them in terms of flexibility for families, but not any more than this for other employees.
Almost three quarters of medium-sized businesses (72%) would never consider offering full-time working from home, compared to half (51%) of micro and two-fifths (40%) of enterprise businesses. Half of medium businesses also said they would not consider offering part-time working from home, compared with 16% of enterprise and 22% of large businesses for the same reasons. Almost a fifth of businesses (17%) have called for clearer information around the business benefits of flexible working – rising to a quarter (24%) in large businesses.
However, employees feel it is the employer’s responsibility to offer solutions, and many are keen to see changes in the workplace. Join us for the WEA biennial conference, which will be held on 11th and 12th March 2016 in Sheffield. If your costs are being met by a WEA Region or Association Services, you can register online here.
Ed Mayo is Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, the national business association for co-operative and mutual enterprises. Debate the future of Conference and the sutainability of the WEA - the latest agenda is available here. Current WEA Deputy President, Lynne Smith, is set to become President of the Association following an all member vote. Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive and General Secretary commented: "I am sure that members, staff, volunteers and supporters of the WEA will join with me in congratulating Lynne Smith on her election as President of the WEA. Wessex Archaeology and the Workers’ Educational Association have forged a new partnership to promote and deliver educational outreach with heritage at its heart. Wessex Archaeology Chief Executive Chris Brayne and Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of the WEA, will be signing a memorandum of understanding at the Omega Centre in Portsmouth today.
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas is attending to speak about the Mary Rose and WEA students will be there to help show that heritage themes can support the teaching of Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and literacy. Yesterday, Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Sharp led a debate in the House of Lords on the role of adult education and lifelong learning in strengthening the UK economy.
Speaking at the debate, Lord Watson of Invergowrie, noted the results of the WEA’s latest impact report which assessed the effect of our provision against our four curriculum themes. Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield, Lord Hunt of Chesterton, Lord Shipley and Baroness Garden of Frognal all referenced the charity and its role in ensuring that everyone has a chance to return to education. The WEA is pleased to see this issue raised in parliament, and through the work of the APPG, will continue to champion the importance of lifelong learning to individuals, communities and wider society. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has published its 2015 Employer Skills Survey which reports that, despite a surge in job openings, the number of positions left vacant because employers cannot find people with the skills or knowledge to fill them has risen by 130% since 2011. In our experience, ESOL students are hardworking and diligent, committed to contributing to their communities and wider society. Election for the post of PresidentSince two nominations have been received for the post of President, a ballot among WEA members will now decide which candidate will be elected to the post. If you were a registered member by 12 September 2015, you will be able to vote in the election.
Elections of WEA Association Officers are supervised by the Standing Orders Committee appointed at the previous Association Conference.
In order to be able to vote, members are required to have joined the WEA in England and Scotland on or before 12 September 2015. WEA London Region is looking for experienced, knowledgeable, flexible and creative adult educators for inclusion on our Tutor Panel. You should ideally have experience of working with educationally or socio-economically disadvantaged adults across a range of community settings.
The report demonstrates that adult learning has an enormous impact on individuals and communities. The Autumn edition of WEA News is now available, including stories on our Save Adult Education campaign, Conference 16, the new All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education and much more. Molly Morgan was a WEA volunteer who was tragically murdered on her way to a WEA course in 2009. As the WEA leads the campaign to save adult education across England, colleagues in WEA Scotland give their support and solidarity, whilst reflecting on some key differences in Scotland. An award winning adult education student and a fashion tutor from Tower Hamlets joined shadow minister and Newcastle MP, Chi Onwurah, to deliver a petition of over 10,000 names to 10 Downing Street as part of a campaign to save adult education. Adult education, which is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, represents only six per cent of the department’s spending devoted to education and training. With the government expecting that 13.5 million jobs will be created over the next 10 years but only 7 million young people coming into the workforce, there is a concern the loss of adult education services will mean that older workers will not be able to update their skills while employers will face a shortage of workers.
On Thursday, 29 October 2015, the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) published It’s the finance, stupid! This collection of essays explains the catastrophic fall in part-time student numbers, which is harming the economy and limiting people’s ability to transform their lives, and proposes a range of options for tackling the problem.
A study, published in the Royal Society’s Open Science journal, looked at how a series of adult education classes grew closer over seven months. Dr Eiluned Pearce, from Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology led the research.
To test the theory, the researchers worked with charity the Workers' Educational Association (WEA), the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education. Those attending the classes were given surveys before and after individual sessions in the first month, just before the break and at the end of the seven month course.
We are sad to announce the recent death of Peter Quigley, who played an active role in the WEA for many years. I learned Peter Quigley had passed away on the evening of Tuesday 13th October in hospital following an operation, whilst I was attending a WEA Regional Heads Meeting in London. Peter had also represented WEA Scotland nationally on the WEA Council and more recently on the Standing Orders Committee.


On the wider stage of life, Peter was a former English teacher, and Union Representative and this often meant that he was called on to represent members in disciplinary procedures.
Knowing of my literary aspirations, Peter had chatted to me a couple of times about writing a book himself, though, ever cautious, he never revealed the plot. A forthright individual, Peter always challenged what he did not agree, but with a good heart and there are few who would not say that he sought to improve the WEA and its place in the world. WEA Scotland would wish to extend to Peter’s family and friends our sincere condolences.
Please consider for a few moments Peter Quigley’s contribution to our lives and the life and success of the WEA.
Labour MP Holly Lynch has voiced support for the WEA's Save Adult Education campaign after meeting with our students and tutors last week. The Halifax MP, part of the 2015 intake, was invited to a screening of a campaign video produced by learners which captures the many reasons why adult education should be protected and supported. Commenting on the campaign, Holly said: "Adult education is essential in ensuring that people have the skills and the confidence to make the most of the opportunities available to them, either in employment or in life. New WEA tutor Tracey Kettridge is interviewed in this month’s Prima magazine in a feature on inspirational women. In September, Tracey fulfilled another of her ambitions – to become a tutor with the WEA. Organisations from the education, business and employment sectors have joined forces to shine a spotlight on the hundreds of thousands of students studying part-time around the UK. The two largest providers of part-time higher education: The Open University and Birkbeck, University of London. Unionlearn – the learning and skills organisation of the TUC who last year who have helped over 220,000 people access training and development. Workers' Educational Association (WEA) – the UK's largest voluntary sector provider of adult education.
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) – the national voice for lifelong learning.
National Union of Students (NUS), which represents the voices on 7 million students including part-time and mature students.
CBI, whose 190,000 members employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of the private sector-employed workforce. With more than two million students currently settling into new university courses, a fifth of these will be studying part-time whilst juggling work and family responsibilities. These part-time students are largely 'invisible' – they may not identify themselves as being a student, and are often overlooked in media and government reports in favour of reporting on the participation of younger, full-time students. The Government is currently preparing its Spending Review for the next 5 years and will announce its plans on November 25.
Less than 6 per cent of Government spending on education and training is devoted to adult further education and skills.
Putting this in context, over the next 10 years there will be 13.5 million more jobs but only 7 million young people coming into the workforce. Over the next few weeks we are hoping to reach thousands of students, members and supporters of the WEA as well as a vast range of partners and friends who share our concerns. I am deeply concerned that the cuts suggested for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will have a serious impact on the sustainability of adult education across England.
As a supporter of the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), I have experienced the impact adult education can make. Please add in a personal statement of what the WEA means to you whether as a student volunteer or tutor.
The group has been formed to raise the profile of adult education, and in particular, the vital role it plays in providing high-quality educational provision to the most disadvantaged members of society.
The group will be established as an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) shortly after the launch.
The launch event will be at 11am on Friday 18 September at Westgate Community College in Newcastle. Created as part of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, the SDIs offer a vast range of adult education courses for over 130,000 students across Britain each year, providing educational opportunities for every community in the country. MembershipMembership will consist of a group of MPs and Lords from all sides of the house and the secretariat will be provided by the SDIs.
Working MethodsThe APPG will adopt a shared learning approach which will deliver three reports and one research paper led by the WEA research department over the course of the parliament, detailing key issues and recommendations for adult education and their impacts on society. The APPG will aim to launch in November 2015 with subsequent events in February and May and will hold these months moving forward as key target dates. Today marks the first day of the trip, which will see students discuss their views with parliamentarians, activists and union members. An exciting itinerary has been scheduled, with speakers from the European Economic and Social Committee and SOLIDAR (a European network of NGOs working to advance social justice on an international scale) discussing diverse topics from the future of the EU to workers’ rights.
The WEA project, headed by Jol Miskin, WEA Regional Education Manager, was established earlier this year to help local people feel empowered to participate in and engage with European politics. A group of WEA workplace learners from Falkirk have taken part in the Scottish Book Trust’s annual writing competition. The authors’ learning journey began when they expressed an interest in building their confidence and communication skills in response to a WEA article in a local council publication. Arrangements were made for the class to run in Denny Community Centre, following approval from Falkirk Council. Utilize the full power of the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies to engage with your clients and expand your reach! Of the students taking part, 22 per cent were from black or ethnic minority backgrounds and 41 per cent had a disability.
In addition, the study found that 36 per cent of all students valued the arts, music or literature more than they had previously whilst 35 per cent had a greater understanding of other cultures.
Tutors, students, members, volunteers and colleagues from across the country were in attendance, with vigorous discussion around sustainability (the theme of the 2016 conference) and the future of the charity. He has been instrumental in developing a wide range of renewable energy systems and is now leading on the ground-breaking Zero Carbon Britain research. Speaking from personal experience, Lord Blunkett told the audience of the challenges he faced when returning to education and of the ultimate gain. I was privileged to hear from a variety of wonderful speakers and educational practitioners and felt honoured to share the success stories of the WEA Awards recipients. Women’s lives have been transformed by technology, changes in our economy and in social attitudes so that women expect to compete on equal terms. The adult education charity has been going for more than a century and it is as badly needed today as it was in 1903. This low level of adult skills inevitably impacts on the success of the economy as a whole. People like my grandfather, who left school at 11 but who enrolled on a WEA course and eventually won a trade union scholarship to Ruskin College, Oxford, and another to Peterhouse at Cambridge. When I read economics at Cambridge I was intimidated by the cutglass accents and the seemingly easy social confidence of my fellow students.
It is a vicious cycle that affects many women, which is why we have to do more to support mothers in the workplace. Last year, the WEA launched a campaign focusing on the importance of education and lifelong learning, to enable women to overcome the disadvantages they face in society. Its latest report, published last week, revealed that one in four UK workers would sacrifice pay for greater flexibility. According to the World Economic Forum it is now ranked 18th out of 145 countries in terms of the gender gap, an improvement from the 26th place ranking it achieved last year.
According to the report no country in the world has achieved gender equality but I think there are lessons we can learn from those at the top of the league table: Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden. According to the World Economic Forum, it will take another 117 years until the pay gap between men and women is closed.
We also need to recognise and reward good practice wherever we see it, learn from our own experience and the experience of other countries and cultures. However, far fewer are supportive of fathers with young children (35%), older workers (26%) and other employees (34%) who may have additional responsibilities such as elderly or unwell relatives to care for, charity and volunteering responsibilities, or a desire to attend additional training or classes outside of work.
Over half (52%) of medium-sized employers said this would be logistically too difficult to implement, whilst over a third (35%) worry it would impact negatively on the business. Almost a third of employers (31%) place the onus on employees – saying they would be encouraged to reconsider their decisions if employees would consider taking cuts in return for more flexible working hours.
A quarter (24%) of employees think employers should offer flexible shift patterns, and almost a quarter (23%) would be willing to be paid less in return for working fewer hours if this were an option. Our economy depends on a skilled and motivated workforce that functions productively – and our best hope of achieving this is through encouraging employers to adapt to the evolving needs of the workforce.
This year the theme of the conference is sustainability, with an event on the Friday of national significance with a great line up of speakers and workshops along with the Association Dinner. He has a track record of innovation and impact in his work to bring together economic life and social justice. He chaired the Jubilee 2000 campaign and was part of the team that founded the Fairtrade Mark.
Standing Orders Committee has therefore confirmed that Lindsay Pearson is duly elected to the post of Deputy President.


It encourages intellectual curiosity and lifelong opportunities to learn which we are passionate about in the WEA.
Since 2010, we have witnessed a drastic reduction in the ESOL budget of almost 50 per cent.
By creating a more cohesive ESOL strategy, the Government could help thousands of people across the country unlock their potential and contribute to the economy.
Standing Orders Committee therefore confirms that Lindsay Pearson is duly elected to the post of Deputy President. Before voting you should read the supporting statements from the cadidates and the role description for the post of President below.
You will have either recieved an email from Electoral Reform Services or a ballot paper by post providing security details for the election.
Further information about the regulations of governance of the WEA can be found in our Governing Document. Applicants should hold a First Degree or equivalent in their subject(s) or have significant, demonstrable professional knowledge and skills.
Our work transforms outcomes for people in deprived communities; it reduces social exclusion, increases social mobility and enables families to break the cycle of deprivation.
Without continuous opportunities to learn throughout our lives, the economic potential of many citizens will be lost and our productivity levels will continue to lag behind other competing countries. While this is welcome, we believe there needs to be more investment in adult learning alongside a rebalancing of our education and skills policies to reflect the fact that productivity improvements will be driven by those who are already in the labour market. From now on, everyone is going to be thinking about how to continuously increase skills through life. During her life, she gave so much of her time to the charity and had volunteered with us for over 25 years before her death at the age of 81.
The formation of a Scottish Parliament Cross Party Working Group on Adult Learning has backed this up - testament to the shared belief that adult learning benefits people and communities throughout Scotland.
An effective vehicle for economic and social justice, a strong adult learning sector is key to the future of Scotland. Chief Executive of the WEA, Ruth Spellman and WEA Director of Education Joanna Cain, joined the group to highlight the importance of adult education to communities throughout England. This year alone, the Adult Skills Budget has already had cuts of 24 per cent and 3.9 per cent, and many students are concerned that further cuts will have a devastating impact on a service which provides skills, confidence and support to disadvantaged communities across the country.
Adult education is important because it helps individuals and their families break cycles of deprivation and forge better lives themselves. Thousands of people have joined the WEA in saying this is a vital service for our economy and our society. There are other challenges too, such as the future of the research environment, how to assess the quality of teaching and dealing with the effects of marketisation. Part-time numbers have fallen more in England than other parts of the UK with lower (or no) fees, but it is not the sole cause. Now, research from the University of Oxford has shown that singing is a great ice-breaker and can get groups of people to bond together faster.
The conclusion – singing groups bonded quicker than those taking part in other classes. At the end of the seven months, all the classes were reporting similar levels of closeness. Indeed he represented my Cousin, Bill Bald and successfully defended him in a case of wrongful dismissal. It is for this and the many other unrealised potentials that we always regret the passing of a life, the achievements stand as testament, the intentions and possibilities as feasible conjecture. Tracey is a former beautician who, five years ago, decided to change career and study counselling and hypnotherapy after years of being a shoulder to cry on for family, friends and clients.
She will be empowering those with low self-esteem to recognise their worth and talents by teaching a confidence course with us. The sector is calling for greater recognition of the value of part-time education and is asking students, past and present, to share why they love part time study. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills, which funds the WEA and other adult learning institutions like ourselves in England, has been asked by the Chancellor to suggest cuts of 25% and 40%. Further cuts, on top of the 24 per cent and 3.9 per cent cuts to the Adult Skills Budget already announced this year, will have a devastating impact on a service that is life-changing for many people. At the same time employer investment in skills and training has declined by 2.5bn since 2011. Our aim is to raise awareness, make the case for adult education and to give adult learners a voice.
Individual letters or emails to your local MP and the Chancellor will make a difference and make sure that adults are not forgotten when cuts are being made. Please click here to download a template of what you might consider writing - the suggested text is also below. Further cuts, on top of the 24 per cent and 3.9 per cent cuts to the Adult Skills Budget already announced this year, will have a devastating impact on a service that is life-changing for many people and communities across the country.
The group will aim to start a wider debate about the future of adult education in this country. Learning can change people’s lives and improve not just their skills and job prospects but also their confidence and health.
APPGs have members from all the main political parties in Parliament and the Adult Education APPG will be supported by the WEA and other specialist adult education institutions. Our aim is to engage key stakeholders, organisations within the FE sector, parliamentarians and other major influencers in a debate about the future of adult education. It is proposed that the group agree a subject for investigation, followed by a call for evidence, with at least one oral evidence session held each year to engage students, parliamentarians and other stakeholders in the discussion.
They will also have the opportunity to visit the key historic landmarks associated with European democracy.
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Half of the students were on means-tested benefits and 28 per cent from disadvantaged postcodes. If he had not secured his O-level qualifications by attending evening classes, he would not have been able to attend university and subsequently forge a career in national politics. Award-winning journalist Nadine Dereza hosted the event, which highlighted the fantastic work of the students, tutors and staff that make the WEA special.
After my third was born I had to deal with redundancy and the serious illness of my husband.
On Saturday, the formal business of the conference will take place with debates on some of the key issues affecting the WEA and adult education. It was entitled Changing Lives and revealed the extent to which adult learning impacts on so many areas of an individual’s life.
In order to help people fully integrate into their communities and boost active citizenship, we believe more should be done to encourage and facilitate English language learning for those who need it. An effective ESOL programme has the potential to promote community cohesion, fair access to services, social mobility and can enable students to access the labour market. Applicants should also hold a Level 4 teaching qualification (minimum) or be willing to work towards this. Unless we have accessible and affordable education and skills provision economic growth will stall, our productivity levels will continue to be below the G7 average, and five million adults will continue to struggle without basic literacy and numeracy skills. Alongside the petition, hundreds of WEA students who have benefited from adult education have been writing to their MPs to protest against potential cuts in the Spending Review. Singing is found in all human societies and can be performed to some extent by the vast majority of people.
Each course, made up of two-hour sessions, was run over seven months with a two-week break in the middle. It was a difficult feat considering that she had four children (her youngest at the time was one years old) and it meant leaving behind the security of a profession which she was thriving in. Please help us maintain this vital service for generations to come by highlighting the importance of adult education to the Chancellor and BIS over the coming months. Alongside students, speakers at these events might include other providers of adult education such as The Open University, non-SDI colleges, LEPs, employers, local authorities as well as ministers and opposition spokespeople.A report would then be developed in consultation with the group for launch at the annual AGM. That survey found that more than half of those aged under 60 gave improving communication skills as a specific skill developed on a WEA course. Whilst we can’t guarantee tutors work, inclusion on our Tutor Panel ensures that you will be considered when suitable courses arise. Any solution is likely to rest upon innovative delivery methods and other ways of improving access as much as relying on tweaks to the entitlement for financial support. We will work with you to design the system according to your own specific needs, integrate all your unique branded content, and optimize it for your specific market, so it becomes your flagship coaching program.




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