Thursday 26-03-2015 - 10:52
On Thursday 26 February, the government announced a 24 per cent cut to the adult education budget in England. This is a devastating cut for Further Education provision and will hit the most vulnerable in society the hardest.
The Association of Colleges (AOC) has estimated that continued spending cuts at this rate will reduce the budget to zero by 2020 with no public funding remaining for any courses (even basic skills) outside Higher Education and the student loan scheme.
City and Islington College announced the closure of its Ceramics Department at its Centre for Lifelong Learning last week in the face of the cuts. The College’s strategic aims have altered in response to the changing funding environment, and it now prioritises courses which create ‘lines of sight to work’, something the College feels does not apply to ceramics.
The Ceramics Department has a large cohort of passionate, dedicated and talented students that have been marginalised because their educational needs do not fit with the strategic vision of the government, and consequently the College.
One student at City and Islington College, Theresa Connell, said: ‘As a disabled woman, this is almost the only way that I am able to get out into the community, and to meet and mix with others as equals. This is not just a social group. It is also an opportunity to learn the art and craft of ceramics. I can’t tell you how much my confidence and pleasure in life has increased over the last few years of learning new skills. It’s a huge part of my life now. It’s the only place I go where I meet and talk to people – apart from the local shops’.
As with many FE stories, this cut has largely slipped under the radar of the media. But, NUS have joined with other sector partners including to set up a campaign to save adult education.
There are a number of ways you can strengthen the campaign; sign the petition to save adult learning, lobby your PPC or MP online at www.fefunding.org.uk and joining the conversation on social media using the #loveFE hashtag.