Separate area review proposed for adult and community learning provision

'London-wide review' of ACL expected to be commissioned separately from area review process

Stephen Exley

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A separate review of adult and community learning provision in London has been proposed after officials running the area reviews were swamped with requests from providers.

While there has been little interest in opting in to the area reviews of college provision from other providers across the country, 19 adult and community learning (ACL) providers sought to join the reviews of college provision taking place in London.

As a result, a letter seen by TES, which was issued jointly by the London government and the Joint Area Review Delivery Unit, proposes a “London-wide review on the future direction of all adult and community learning across the capital”.

Separate review

This, the letter states, will enable “adult and community learning provision to be considered in its entirety, without committing you to the constraints of the area review process”.

The area reviews have focussed on college provision, although other kinds of schools and providers have bene invited to opt in to the process on a voluntary basis. If the plans are approved, this would be the first separate review of ACL provision.

“It will afford ACLs the opportunity to work in tandem with London government to establish a detailed understanding of the value of this provision, as a prelude to any local commissioning of the adult education budget”, and enable them to develop “new models to support the more efficient and effective delivery of provision”, the letter adds.

Enhanced stakeholder role

The letter also acknowledges that more ACL providers “felt unable to opt in to the area review” due to concerns about having to “find efficiencies across curriculum, estates and staffing, and the potential to be drawn into proposals for mergers or other structural changes”.

Under the proposals, the ACL providers would be given an “enhanced stakeholder role” in the main area reviews, and would be excused from “discussions around estates or staffing” but offer “influence over sub-regional steering groups’ thinking about the local curriculum (and how it meets learner needs)”.

ACL providers were asked to respond by Tuesday, with a view to further discussions later this month.

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Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley is a freelance writer, director of external affairs at Villiers Park Educational Trust and former FE editor at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @stephenexley

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