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Workers Educational Association Peter Templeton. 2 Something about the WEA Established in 1903 Link between universities and broad labour movement Built.

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Presentation on theme: "Workers Educational Association Peter Templeton. 2 Something about the WEA Established in 1903 Link between universities and broad labour movement Built."— Presentation transcript:

1 Workers Educational Association Peter Templeton

2 2 Something about the WEA Established in 1903 Link between universities and broad labour movement Built on a relationship between students and tutors Allowed groups of students to decide what they wanted to learn Strong apparent agreement on curriculum

3 3 Raymond Williams 1961 creation of an educated and participating democracy voluntary, independent, serious work It stands for an educated democracy not for a newly mobile and more varied elite.

4 4 Where the WEA is now 100,000 learners a year Half of all learners have not been in education recently 600 branches, nine regions and Scotland More professionalised management Strong student voice in governance Specialist Designated Institute High dependency on LSC contract

5 5 How the WEA fared in the Learning Age Growth in volume of provision over late 1990s into new millennium Internal crisis of leadership and management Supportive intervention from local LSC Restructuring and reorganising with new senior management Recovered position in quality and finances

6 6 However… Although confidence and reputation largely recovered still a voluntary organisation captured by the LSC Now advocating and campaigning for adult learning but how does the WEA fit into a Foster/FE White paper future? Volunteer and staff alienation/weariness from Government learning agenda

7 7 The learner at the centre of the process? Learners or Students? Divide with Higher Education Relationship with tutor Commoditisation – the learner as a unit of production The LSC at the centre of the process Or are they all now Skill-Seekers?

8 8 Agenda for Change Welcome recognition of failure of first five years Clear efforts to reduce bureaucracy and simplify funding methodology Apparent efforts to reduce costs Will fake localism be overcome? Can a bureaucracy reduce bureaucracy? Is internal reform enough?

9 9 The FE White Paper Foster did what the LSC didnt Clear role for FE colleges around employability Back to the future – the technical colleges of the 60s and 70s The fee target is the stick PCDL (and adults) – an afterthought?

10 10 Will it work? Industrial and employment change – knowledge, technology, globalisation Can Colleges return to a previous relationship with employers? 69 Skills Councils (22 Sector + 47 learning & skills) Brokers (possibly honest)

11 11 Command led or demand led? Central planning Market driven Local choice National targets

12 12 Faith in employers Employers are the key but will they engage? Are employers the driver of economic change and innovation? How does this relate to individual adults? Balance of responsibility Balance of funding contribution

13 13 David Miliband If the 1980s and 1990s were about the economy and if the 2000s are about public services tuned around individual need, then the next agenda is about people having more control over their own lives. February 2006

14 14 New localism New public services agenda Services orbit around people The hollowed out state Choice and voice Role for voluntary sector Aimed at local authorities and health trusts – does it apply to the LSC? Does the FE White Paper align?

15 15 Can the LSC deliver? Will Agenda for Change go far enough? Can it engage with individuals and localities? Will simplification arrive or arrive in time? Infatuation with IT and tracking What about adults? What about what cant be measured?

16 16 An Opportunity? Principles of new localism appeal Potential for real engagement between providers, individuals, employers and communities A chance to reduce bureaucracy and put learning at the centre of things Right idea – wrong delivery mechanisms?

17 17 How will the WEA engage? Clearer and more assertive to LSC and DfES Engage with development of PCDL Communicate with our students and volunteers Try to avoid Voluntary Sector incorporation Build our local voice

18 18 RH Tawney 1917 The fundamental obstacle in the way of education in England is simple. It is that education is a spiritual activity much of which is not commercially profitable, and that the prevailing temper of Englishmen is to regard as most important that which is commercially profitable, and as of only inferior importance that which is not

19 19 Four pillars of thought 1.Fellowship and, in particular, the fellowship of learning. 2.The significance of education generally, and adult education specifically, in the struggle to sustain democratic citizenship. 3.The idea of liberal education expressed through the great art of teaching adults 4.The link between adult education and the values of socialism


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