Adult and community education providers could be forced to close to their doors if the sector sees another budget cut later this year, adult learning body Holex has warned.
In its submission ahead of the government's spending review, the organisation, which represents a network of over 120 adult and community learning providers, says any further cuts would also jeopardise providers' ability to raise additional funding, for example from students or the Big Lottery Fund, and could force many to completely close their adult education and skills programmes.
“This would be a loss of a well-loved service that has taken in many instances over 100 years to create,” says the document. “It also removes the capability of many local authorities to respond to the social and employment issues they are now finding themselves with. It is the adult education service that glues together the other services such as probation, troubled families and health to solve particular localised problems. “
Holex adds that the government’s spending priorities had led to many providers losing 24 per cent from the adult education budget “on top of the more visible 2010 spending review cuts”. The document states: “Adult education services have taken the lion’s share of [Department for Education/Department for Business, Innovation and Skills] cuts and it is obvious that the impact of such cuts has not been properly debated or measured.”
Holex is calling on the government to commit to at least maintaining current levels of adult education funding “with the ambition to secure new funding in the future”.
It also urges the government to improve productivity by “recognising apprenticeships will not solve all the work based skills issues and that there is a need to increase investment in vocational priority areas while establishing a new agreement between the employer and the individual to support vocational and employment skills training”.
The government will publish its autumn statement outlining spending plans on 23 November.
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