Simon Parkinson, CEO and General Secretary of the WEA said: "It was disappointing to find that education has fallen down the political agenda, and that adult education was deemed not worthy of even a passing comment.

The move towards further devolution with three new County Deals and greater flexibility for existing Mayoral Combined Authorities puts adult education spending closer to the learner. As an organisation committed to local delivery we welcome this though it would be more effective with an overall uplift in investment from the centre. 

We call on these new authorities to remember community-based education, not just formal college education for adults, when setting priorities for their newly devolved budgets. Many adults, particularly those who need education most, need a different style of learning to set them on a path towards confidence, aspiration and improved skills.

In particular, we note the greater flexibilities given to the North of England Combined Authority, which currently has plans to defund the WEA in the region in preference for the traditional college-based experience for its residents. 

We look to NEMCA to use these new spending powers to support community learning through grant funding for trusted local providers such as the WEA."

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