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Speaking up for adult education

We have founded Call - the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning - because we believe that affordable access to the life-changing opportunities provided by education is the hallmark of a civilised society. Call is a non-party political alliance.

We are concerned at the loss of around 1.5 million adult education course places over the past two years as a result of cuts and fee rises, particularly hitting older, disabled and working-class students. The only qualification for joining Call is commitment to our six founding principles.

Call believes our education system should provide:

- equality of access to high quality education for all learners (regardless of class, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, asylum status or employment status), including a statutory right to learning in the workplace;

- universal access to basic skills, English for speakers of other languages and information technology courses, and a first level three qualification, regardless of age;

- learner, teacher and community involvement in all levels of decision- making about their learning, wherever it takes place;

- learning for personal wellbeing and development, and the maintenance of local authority adult education;

- a path out of poverty and disadvantage, including widening participation in higher education and the provision of a second chance later in life; and

- a stable, motivated and rewarded workforce of professional practitioners.

Our founding conference will take place in central London on Tuesday, September 30, at 5pm. See www.callcampaign.org.uk

Paul Mackney, Associate director, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education.

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