Adults Learning is essential reading for adult education practitioners and policy makers, offering an informed mix of news, analysis, expert commentary and feature writing, dedicated to adult learning. Published 4 times a year in print and digitally, each issue is filled with in-depth and topical articles written by leading practitioners and experts in the field.
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Contents of current issue, Winter 2013:
We need to talk about part-time
In October, Universities UK published the findings of its much-anticipated review of part-time higher education. The report highlighted the extent of the crisis in part-time HE and demonstrated the urgent need to find solutions. We asked some of the key stakeholders and commentators what actions they would like to see to arrest the decline
We can do more to support mature students
The Equality Challenge Unit’s 2013 statistical analysis report shows that mature students get less from their higher education experience if they are disabled
or from a minority ethnic group. If higher education institutions are serious about recruiting and retaining mature students they must target support on these
groups, argues Chris Brill
1963 and all that: what Robbins thought about mature students
It is 50 years since the publication of Lionel Robbins’ hugely influential report on higher education. The anniversary has prompted numerous attempts to reclaim and even rewrite his legacy, but few have considered the important place Robbins gave mature students in his thinking. Paul Stanistreet looks again at the report
The limitations of widening participation
Limitations to the number of marginal applicants and the number of places combine to make widening participation, as currently conceived, just about impossible. Increasing the pool of potential students is possible but efforts to do so are seriously hampered by a lack of robust evaluation, argues Stephen Gorard
Behind the headlines
The lurid political and media response to the OECD’s Adults Skills Survey should not be allowed to obscure the survey’s important findings about the value of adult learning or its stark warnings about inequality and barriers to social mobility, writes John Field
Whitehead and after: the future of vocational education
The Whitehead review is the latest in a series of reports which are helping to reshape adult vocational qualifications. We asked Judith Norrington of City & Guilds, Tom Wilson of unionlearn and David Grailey of NCFE what they saw as the significance of the review and what they would like to see happen next
Back to the future
The Whitehead review says little that has not been said in previous reports on vocational qualifications. However, its final recommendation – which would mean the removal of the requirement that qualifications be based on standard units – could have serious negative consequences for learners, providers and employers, says Peter Wilson
A triumph of hope over experience
The Whitehead review, like others before it, assumes that, freed of the shackles of government control, employers will take charge and invest in more and better vocational training. But the evidence to support this belief is, at best, limited, writes Ewart Keep
Seeing past the smoke and mirrors
Mick Fletcher looks beyond the spin that obscures the often rather similar – and similarly flawed – policy announcements of both government and opposition and asks where further education policy is really going
Room at the top?
Debate about social mobility is often confused by a failure to adequately define what we mean by the term. More critically, a narrow focus on mobility obscures the more fundamental issue of the distance between those at the top of the ladder and those at the bottom, writes Tom Schuller
The threat to liberal adult education
Liberal adult education has in recent decades borne the brunt of a sustained ideological assault. It may look out of step to some, but the WEA and its social purpose ethos are as vital as ever to the development of a truly democratic society, argues Richard Taylor
Recreating social purpose adult education
Social purpose adult education is a continually evolving concept, a critical part of this ‘great tradition’ of ours. But what does it mean today and how can it thrive in a challenging environment frequently unsympathetic to its aims, asks Pete Caldwell
In defence of progressive lifelong learning
The Enlightenment belief in progressive lifelong learning, implicit in its rejection of unquestionable authority in favour of rational argument, is under increasing threat. Henry Tam explains what we can do to defend it
Imagining a different future
Most providers engage in evaluation but, often, there is little opportunity to record in any depth the experience of returning to learning and the difference it has made to learners. For that reason, the Edinburgh Adult Education Research Group undertook 10 life-story interviews with students to examine in-depth the impact adult learning had on their lives. Lorrane Borwick, Elizabeth Bryan, Jim Crowther, James Gilfillan and Birgit Harris report
John McGarrigle – a tribute
Joyce Connon remembers poet and WEA activist John McGarrigle who was among the nine people who died in the police helicopter crash in Glasgow on 30 November 2013
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