Campaign calls for adult learning entitlement

Former prime minister Gordon Brown is among those supporting the Right2Learn campaign, launched today
9th December 2020, 12:01am
Tes Reporter

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Campaign calls for adult learning entitlement

https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/general/campaign-calls-adult-learning-entitlement
Adult Education: A Campaign Is Calling For A New Learning Entitlement For Adults

A group of experts including academics, campaigners and politicians is calling for a new entitlement enabling access to skills and learning courses for both younger and older adult learners.

The campaign, entitled Right2Learn and launched today, says participation in adult education has collapsed since 2010, yet workers hit by the coronavirus crisis urgently need reskilling and retraining. Former prime minister Gordon Brown is among those endorsing the campaign, stating that now "more than ever, the right of everyone to learn has to be championed by all".


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Leaders from across education, skills, training and lifelong learning, including former ministers Estelle Morris, John Denham and Chris Smith, former shadow minister Gordon Marsden, as well as academics and sector leaders, have signed a letter in support of the campaign, and there will be a dedicated Right2Learn online platform featuring regular blogs, discussion and comment.

Call for investment in adult learning

Right2Learn has drawn inspiration from one of the key recommendations of the Lifelong Learning Commission report published last November, which called for a publicly funded minimum entitlement to study up to level 3 and six years of publicly funded credits at Level 4 and upwards for full, part-time or modular learning.

Former Labour shadow HE, FE and skills minister Gordon Marsden said: "At this critical time, when government is preparing for an FE White Paper and responding to the Augar report, it is vital to have a vision that can cut across the traditional silos which often hamper collaboration. We need a Right2Learn strategy to break down barriers and transform life chances for people, getting millions of people the basic skills they lack, and allowing them and others to progress to crucial levels 2 and 3, alongside the chance to acquire higher technical skills at levels 4 and above, as well as traineeships and apprenticeships.

"We need to involve every part of the post-18 educational landscape in that journey. Universities, FE colleges, skills and learning providers, as well as employers, trade unions, the third sector and existing informal and lifelong learning networks all have a part to play - with a key delivery role for devolved local and regional elected mayors, combined authorities and others wherever appropriate."

Vicky Duckworth, professor of education at Edge Hill University and co-leader of the Transforming Lives project, said: "We want Right2Learn to be a driver for change, helping to empower communities and individuals' life chances. Via our online platform, we are establishing a forum that will give a voice for existing and potential new initiatives and be a focal point for some of the amazing projects for skills and learning going forward not just in England but across the UK."

Matt Waddup, former head of policy and campaigns at the University and College Union, said: "Right2Learn will promote skills and learning not just to help adults to keep their jobs now, but to give them enabling skills that will help them get new jobs in new sectors. Access to education is vital not just for our economy and productivity but to heal divisions in our society, especially all those disadvantaged and left behind. That access must include as well the millions of people who will be self-employed, or working in small businesses and co-operatives in the decade ahead."

Signatories of the letter in support of Right2Learn:
 

  • Baroness Estelle Morris, former education secretary and co-chair of Lifelong Learning Commission
  • Gordon Marsden, former shadow minister for HE, FE and skills and instigator of the Lifelong Learning Commission
  • Graeme Atherton, director of the National Education Opportunities Network, and member of the Lifelong Learning Commission
  • Vicky Duckworth, professor of education at Edge Hill University and member of the Lifelong Learning Commission
  • Matt Waddup, former national head of policy and campaigns at the University and College Union and member of the Lifelong Learning Commission
  • John Holford, professor of adult education at Nottingham University and joint secretary to the Centenary Commission
  • Tom Wilson, chair of the UFI Vocational Technology Trust and member of the Lifelong Learning Commission
  • Alison Fuller, professor of vocational education and work at the Institute of Education, University College London, and member of the Lifelong Learning Commission
  • Kirsty Donnelly, chief executive of City and Guilds and member of the Lifelong Learning Commission
  • Jane Hickie, managing director at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers
  • Andy Westwood, professor of government at the University of Manchester and former government adviser
  • John Denham, professor of English identity and politics at the University of Southampton and former innovation, universities and skills secretary
  • Jonathan Michie, professor of innovation and knowledge exchange and president at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, and co-secretary of the Centenary Commission
  • Ewart Keep, emeritus professor and chair in education, training and skills at the University of Oxford, member of the Department for Education's Skills and Productivity Board and member of the Lifelong Learning Commission
  • Bob Harrison, chair of Northern College, and former adviser to Toshiba UK
  • Mary Stuart, professor and vice-chancellor at the University of Lincoln
  • Alan Tuckett, professor of education at the University of Wolverhampton and former chief executive of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.
  • Diane Reay, professor of education at the University of Cambridge
  • Carol Dennis, senior lecturer in education, leadership and management at the Open University and senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Dave Phoenix, professor and vice-chancellor of London South Bank University
  • Rae Tooth, chief executive of the Villiers Park Educational Trust
  • Joe Dromey, deputy director of the Learning and Work Institute
  • Simon McGrath, professor and Unesco chair in international education and development at the University of Nottingham
  • Baron Chris Smith of Finsbury, master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and former culture, media and sport secretary
  • Helen Higson, professor of higher education, learning and management, Aston University
  • Carole Stott, chair of Bath College, former chair of WorldSkills UK and member of the Lifelong Learning Commission
  • Wendy Moss, head of teaching and learning at City Lit
  • Ann Limb, vice-chair and founder of the Helena Kennedy Foundation
  • Tom Schuller, visiting professor at the Institute of Education, University College London, and chair of the Prisoners' Education Trust
  • David Latchman, professor and master of Birkbeck College
  • Dame Ruth Silver, president of the Further Education Trust for Leadership
  • Gail Cartmail, president, Trades Union Congress

 

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