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Extensive courses for adult learners;Letter

I AM writing in response to the article on the Audit Commission's publication of performance indicators including council spending on adult education (TES, March 12).

Although the authority only contributes pound;100,000 towards adult basic education and English for speakers of other languages, it secures a substantial resource from the Further Education Funding Council (approximately pound;1.4 million) which is used to deliver an extensive range of accredited programmes. This imaginative approach to funding adult education is only possible because of the excellent working arrangements between the authority and Newcastle College.

The city council uses resources from the Government's Single Regeneration Budget and the European Social Fund to support the needs of some of our most disadvantaged communities.

Clearly, the Audit Commission's report is accurate in so far as it accounts for direct LEA expenditure on adult education. However, I would want to stress that adult learning is a major part of our improvement strategy even if the funding arrangements are not quite as orthodox as in other LEAs.

David Bell

Director of education and libraries

Newcastle upon Tyne

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