Adult Education, Citizenship, Democracy and Justice

Adult Education, Citizenship, Democracy and Justice


There was a lively buzz at a get together in Leeds this week that focused on adult education and an agenda for citizenship, democracy and justice. People in the room and beyond, via social media, are excited about the traditions and promise of adult education for social purpose. It was good to see people of different ages and backgrounds exchanging experiences and ideas in a refreshing day of…

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Adult Learners’ Week - celebration and challenge

Adult Learners’ Week – celebration and challenge

Adult Learners’ Week this year has seemed even more intense and vibrant than usual, with an almost overwhelming range of activities, stories and examples of personal success. People have gathered to celebrate adults’ educational achievements at local, regional and national award ceremonies. Award winners and nominees have told their amazing stories. Their families, friends and supporters have…

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Inclusion, sport and a manifesto for adult education

Inclusion, sport and a manifesto for adult education

Award-winning sportspeople have had a big impact in the WEA this week.

One of Great Britain’s most successful Paralympians, Tanni Grey-Thompson, gave the WEA’s Annual Lecture on 11 June at Birkbeck University. She seemed disarmingly easy-going as she packed several powerful political points into her speech, talking with unpretentious warmth and wit.


Tanni Grey-Thompson, DBE, DL (Photo by…

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PIAAC and Trojan Horses

PIAAC and Trojan Horses

The political fallout of the alleged “Trojan Horse” controversy in Birmingham has replaced the results of the European elections in the news headlines. Extremism, mistrust and intolerance are increasingly common threads in reported news.

Meanwhile, few people are commenting on findings from the OECD’s recent PIAACReport that relate to adult learning and its effects on tolerance, citizenship and…

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Women overcoming disadvantage through education

Women overcoming disadvantage through education

We are launching our “WEA Women overcoming disadvantage through education” campaign with a conference in Nottingham this Wednesday, 4 June. It’s at the ICCA, Hucknall Road, Nottingham, NG5 1QZ, with registration at 10.00 am for a 10.30 start and a 4.00 pm finish.


As well as our own General Secretary and CEO, Ruth Spellman and WEA colleagues, speakers will include:

  • Dr Finn Mackay, feminist…

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Low pay in employment

Low pay in employment

Better paid and educated workers are better for the economy and inequality comes with many costs.

Five million UK workers are employed in low-paid jobs and the largest group feeling poverty is made up of families with at least one adult in paid work. Official figures miss out the most exploited workers, who include immigrants, young people and women, working illegally in the ‘underground’ economy.

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Adult Learning in Europe and beyond

Adult Learning in Europe and beyond

The launch of EPALE, the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe, and the forthcoming elections for the European Parliament mean that it’s timely to think about adult education beyond national borders.


EPALEis the latest development in the European Union’s long-term commitment to promoting high quality adult learning in Europe and will be open to teachers, trainers and volunteers, as…

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Persuasion, politics and adult education

Persuasion, politics and adult education

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Building on more than a century of adult education for community engagement, the WEA is running  ‘Why Vote‘ and ‘Deciding Locallyinitiatives to boost voter registration. Dr Henry Tam from the University of Cambridge led a…

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Who and what is education for?

Who and what is education for?

Eavesdropping on a Twitter conversation this week, I ‘overheard’ this snippet from NIACE’s David Hughes: “Some people think the only need is for education in transition from childhood into work…”

David H tweet

His tweet summed up a view of education that has to be challenged and changed. Of course education is for children and young people and it’s about preparation for work but it’s also about a lot more.


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Health, wellbeing and adult learning

Health, wellbeing and adult learning

Improved health and wellbeing can be a driver, a vehicle and an outcome of adult and community learning. This summarised part of an online discussion today with colleagues from other organisations. We agreed to think of some examples from our organisations. Here are some from the Workers’ Educational Association.

Health and wellbeing as a driver for adult learning 

Many people get involved in…

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