A series of reports and briefings summarized evidence, practical points, and case studies on approaches and actions that might be taken by local authorities on a range of issues to reduce health inequalities (drawing on expertise from the Marmot Review). Reports covered: parenting programmes; home to school transition; pupils' resilience in school; reducing the number of young people not in employment, education, or training; adult learning; increasing employment for older people and people with disabilities; improving workplace health; the living wage; fuel poverty; home-related health problems; access to green spaces; and the economics of investing in social determinants of health.
Source: Local Action on Health Inequalities: Introduction to a series of evidence papers, Public Health England
A report by a committee of MPs said that there was a need to address low adult literacy and numeracy, and that the ability to gain such skills should be considered a fundamental right of all adults. The report called on the government to: make greater use of family learning schemes; adopt different measures of adult skills; develop clear strategies and guaranteed funding, and improve flexibility of provision; work across departments to promote adult literacy and numeracy; and launch a high profile campaign to raise awareness of free training and tuition.
Source: Adult Literacy and Numeracy, Fifth Report (Session 201415), HC 557, House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, TSO
A report examined findings from the community learning learner survey, which looked at who took family learning courses, the nature of the courses, and reported impact on aspects such as: personal confidence; language, maths, and practical skills; parenting; employment; and further learning.
Source: Carrie Harding and Shadi Ghezelayagh, Community Learning Learner Survey: Additional analysis of participants following family learning courses, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
A report examined the role of further education in relation to single parent employment, and the impact of qualification levels on pay, job security, and duration of unemployment. The report called for increased government investment in training for single parents, and for the government to fund their training to level 3 qualifications (equivalent to A level).
Source: Making the Grade: How government investment in further education can benefit single parents and the state, Gingerbread
A report examined literacy and numeracy skills among homeless people in England. An assessment of 139 people and 30 in-depth interviews with clients of a homelessness service found that: half did not have the basic English skills needed for everyday life; 55 per cent lacked basic maths skills; many participants had a poor experience of school, often connected to unstable or traumatic childhoods; and clients who lacked basic English and maths skills made less progress in addressing physical and mental health issues. The report said the funding arrangements in further education (based on attendance and achievement of qualifications) meant that colleges were unable to provide appropriate services for this group of learners, who experienced a number of barriers to mainstream services. The report made recommendations, including for a long-term commitment to funding appropriately designed English and maths programmes, for better co-ordination of community learning services with supported accommodation, and for the expansion of a pilot pre-employment support programme.
Source: Daniel Dumoulin and Katy Jones, Reading Counts: Why English and maths skills matter in tackling homelessness, St. Mungo's Broadway
A report provided results from the second wave of the Community Learning Learner Survey. It said findings suggested that community learning had brought many impacts and changes into learners' lives, in both the short and long-term, although direct attribution was difficult to evidence. It said that notable longer term progression was reported by learners in the 'multiple needs' segment group, which included learners with few prior qualifications, or with multiple forms of disadvantage.
Source: Carrie Harding, Daniel Clay, Ed Mortimer, Shadi Ghezelayagh, and Anna Bloch, Community Learning Learner Survey Wave 2, Research Report 170, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
An article examined the gender training gap (defined as the disadvantage of women in receiving work-related continuing training), drawing on data from the first wave of the Adult Education Survey. The article said that, for women holding a university degree, a training gap was found in one of 22 European countries but, for women without a degree, a significant training gap was found in six countries. It said that institutions were linked to the chances of training, and that the gap was enhanced when vocational education and training was geared towards firm-specific skills.
Source: Caroline Wozny and Martin Schneider, 'A matter of degree: the continuing training gap for women in Europe', Socio-Economic Review, Volume 12 Number 2
A magazine for the adult education sector examined the role of education and skills in addressing issues of poverty and low pay.
Source: 'Poverty, work and low pay: the role of skills', Adults Learning, (Extra) Spring 2014
An article examined the key factors that facilitated and inhibited sustainable 'skills for life' (literacy, numeracy, and English for speakers of other languages) workplace provision. National strategy had generated a complex 'ecology of learning' at policy level, whereby a byzantine and shifting funding landscape, with its concomitant bureaucracy and strong emphasis on target-bearing qualifications, had militated against long-term sustainable provision.
Source: Edmund Waite, Karen Evans, and Natasha Kersh, 'The challenge of establishing sustainable workplace "skills for life" provision in the UK: organisational "strategies" and individual "tactics"', Journal of Education and Work, Volume 27 Number 2
A report evaluated the Community Learning Trust pilots, which ran between August 2012 and July 2013 in 15 locations. The trusts were established to test different approaches to the planning and delivery of community learning, with local people, organizations and providers working together to: shape their own priorities for adult learning; develop local strategies and partnership structures to deliver these objectives; and tailor community learning provision to meet the needs of their communities.
Source: Lucy Evans, Jane Durham, Caitlin Connors, Richard Boniface, and Tricia Hartley, Community Learning Trust (CLT) Pilot Evaluation, Research Report 163, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
The Welsh Government began consultation on proposals to develop and implement co-investment in adult skills training by government, employers and, in some cases, individuals. The consultation would close on 16 May 2014.
Source: Balancing the Responsibilities for Skills Investment: Proposals for co-investment in post-19 adult skills delivery, Consultation WG21187, Welsh Government
Links: Consultation document