Lifelong learning has never been more important

The world is going through unprecedented changes and this is being felt at community level. We all need the skills, knowledge and confidence to understand what is happening around us to deal with the difficult challenges ahead and to build a better future for ourselves and our communities.  

Because our mission is to bring education to all that need it, fight inequality and promote social justice, we are committed to championing the cause of our learners who need education to succeed and thrive.

The WEA Manifesto

We are asking policy and funding decision-makers for just five commitments:

Create a national lifelong learning strategy
This would set out a holistic definition, looking through all three lenses (health, culture and work). It would set the roles and responsibilities and provide a framework for regional priorities.

Prioritise funding for those who left school with no or few qualifications
A lack of role models, aspirations and confidence can be tackled through community education. They provide important building blocks for Job Centres to work on.

Protect the freedom to set a broad curriculum Many adults are reluctant to return to learning and cultural education may be the only way to attract them back to study. Stop de-funding of “leisure learning”. Valuable mental health and wellbeing outcomes will also be lost.

Return adult education funding to 2010 levels by 2029
Public finances are tight but support for adult learning would reap economic benefits in terms of productivity, as well as taking pressure off welfare benefits and also the NHS (through health and wellbeing outcomes).

Deliver a national campaign to drive up participation
Less than 30% of the adult population is currently learning. There is an urgent need to reach the remaining 70%. This includes some of the most disadvantaged groups in society and many who would benefit the most.

Support the post-19 education workforce
The WEA provides critical second-chance education. It should not be doing it with less well-paid staff and struggling to recruit as a result.

Convincing decision-makers

Our leadership team are committed to engaging with policy and funding decision-makers in UK and Scotland Governments, and in devolved authorities in England. But the more voices that tell the story of our learners and the impact of our work, the more convincing the case. 

There are many ways that you can get involved: