New drive to start learning for pleasure

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Tens of thousands of people in Norfolk are to be given more say on what adult education classes should be taught in the county following a government U-turn on exam-based courses.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Tens of thousands of people in Norfolk are to be given more say on what adult education classes should be taught in the county following a government U-turn on exam-based courses.

A new initiative bringing together course providers from across the county aims to put the emphasis on leisure-time classes ranging from arts and crafts, music and dance to yoga.

The Learning for Life in Norfolk Partnership - made up of adult education professionals from further education colleges, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector - has been set up to promote the importance of learning for pleasure and leisure.

It will also help to deliver some of the key aims of Norfolk Ambition - the county's long-term vision of how to improve people's quality of life.

More than 16,000 people sign up to Norfolk adult education service courses in the county each year.

Most Read

But thousands more also take part in classes organised at local leisure centres or by voluntary groups and even health bodies.

The partnership, which recently held its first meeting at the Attleborough Community and Enterprise Centre, is to organise a conference of learners, teachers and providers early next year to look at course provision.

Beverley Evans, head of Norfolk adult education, said there was a growing recognition now in the LSC of the value of leisure classes.

“The other thing that the LSC wants to focus on is it that it wants to bring communities together,” she said. “It will be learning for its own sake, that's the very valuable thing both for individuals and communities.

“The idea isn't that there isn't lot more money for it but the people involved are delivering it together working in a more constructive way. We are thinking together, working together and listening to what people tell us they want

“I am sure if you looked there will places where there isn't much provision and as a partnership we recognise there is a need to do something about it.

“I would like to hear from people if they feel the activity taking place isn't what they want. If they have got ideas about what they would like to see by way of learning I would like to hear from them so we can try and plan our arrangements better.”

John Gretton, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for cultural services and adult education, said: “Recent changes in Government policy driven by the Learning and Skills Council have prompted the county council to invite professionals working in the field of informal adult learning to come together to plan a way forward.

“I am confident that the new partnership will provide long-needed co-ordination to course provision throughout Norfolk and will lead to the more efficient allocation of scarce resources."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter