Hope of new era for adult learners

18th July 2008 at 01:00
Your article "LSC staff worry for the vulnerable" (June 27) posed some very interesting points for reflection

Your article "LSC staff worry for the vulnerable" (June 27) posed some very interesting points for reflection.

Under the stewardship of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), there has been a systematic reduction in the number of programmes and places for adults with learning difficulties andor disabilities.

I calculate that some 35,000 places have been lost in the past decade. If this figure is added to the 110,000 mainstream adult places axed, it seems a bit rich for the LSC to start claiming concern for vulnerable, marginalised and disenfranchised groups of deserving and needy learners.

Perhaps the new Skills Funding Agency will be more sympathetic and responsive, and listen to the diverse learning and development needs of all adult students. Informal learning, vocational skills and academic pursuits are not the only educational routes to fulfilment and success for those who wish to enhance their personal careers and life plans.

I trust that the agency will not be a clone or dim reflection of the LSC, but will make a fresh and community-based assessment of the needs and demands of all adult learners - including those with learning difficulties - and put adult education at the forefront of its thinking, and not be driven only by externally generated targets.

Len Parkyn, Senior teacher, Horam, East Sussex.

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