Participation in adult education continues to fall

78,300 fewer learners participated in an adult education course in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2015-16, new figures show

Will Martin

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The number of learners on state-funded adult education courses has fallen again, new government figures reveal.

According to the quarterly Further Education and Skills in England report, 1,537,100 learners participated in adult education courses in the first half of this year – some 78,300 fewer learners compared with the same period in 2015-16.

In the first quarter of the academic year (August to October 2016), 1,248,600 learners participated in government-funded adult further education compared to 1,310,200 learners in the same period in 2015-16 – a fall of 5 per cent.

The report says that participation in adult further education fell by 11.1 per cent in 2015-16, compared with 2014-15. This follows a previous 10.8 per cent fall between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

'Tackling barriers'

Last year, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Education produced a report that suggested adult education could disappear by 2020.

A spokesperson from the Department for Education said: “We are exploring ambitious new approaches to encouraging adults to engage in lifelong learning. The industrial strategy Green Paper outlined some of the challenges that adults face when accessing education, and [the 2017] budget...allocated up to £40m over the next two years to run pilots to tackle those barriers.”

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Will Martin picture

Will Martin

Will is a junior reporter at TES

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