Published 19th November 2019

Centenary Commission Adult Education Report recommends Community Organisers!

The Centenary Commission’s report on Adult Education has just been published. “A Permanent National Necessity...” provides a vision for Adult Education and Lifelong Learning in 21st Century Britain. Produced by the #AdultEducation100 campaign, it features contributions from Community Organisers and Social Action Hubs – and recommends community organising as part of that 21st Century vision!

Early in 2018, a group of adult educators – recognising the historic importance of the 1919 Ministry of Reconstruction Adult Education Committee’s Final Report – set up the #AdultEducation100 campaign. They wished to encourage a programme of activities, centred on the centenary of the 1919 Report, which would both recover and re-evaluate the twentieth-century history of adult education, and set out a vision for life-wide adult education for the century ahead in their 2019 ‘Centenary Commission Report’.

The report’s findings highlight how adult education is an integral aspect of citizenship and vital to addressing the huge societal divisions that exist across the UK. It states that adult education should not be regarded as a luxury for the few, but instead as a universal benefit for the many.

Working closely with partners from across the adult education world – including members of Community Organisers’ Network and Naomi Diamond, Programme Manager of the Community Organisers Expansion Programme – the #AdultEducation100 campaign report makes a series of recommendations, which include the need for:

  • A national Adult Education & Lifelong Learning Strategy, with a participation target to reduce the gap between the most and least educationally active.
  • A Minister with specific responsibility for Adult Education and Lifelong Learning to report annually to Parliament on progress.
  • Community Learning Accounts, alongside Individual Learning Accounts to provide funding for informal, community-based learning initiatives led by local groups.

We were really pleased to be able to take part in the commission. Community Organisers and Social Action Hubs are definitely a part of the adult learning ecosystem, and we know just how important it is to have local accessible training which encourages people to engage in democracy and their local community.
Naomi Diamond, Programme Manager of the Community Organisers Expansion Programme

Two Community Organisers’ Social Action Hubs – Barton Hill Settlement in Bristol and The Selby Trust in North London – are featured as case studies in the report, which also recommends that community organisers play an essential part in taking steps to deal with regional and local inequality in provision and outcomes.

“Ensuring that the Adult Education & Lifelong Learning Strategy delivers to all members of our society will require sustained work from community organisers and local facilitators commissioned by the Adult Learning Partnerships to work in these communities to identify needs, and engage with them to co-produce the required activities. Such organisers could also play a crucial role in providing the necessary information, advice, guidance and mentoring”. [Recommendation 3.ii].

Adult Learning, Social Action Hubs, and community organising:

The National Academy of Community Organising is the training arm of Community Organisers. It is a network of affiliated Social Action Hubs who provide quality assured training and support for people interested in community organising.

Find out more about the National Academy and our courses HERE.

Courses like ours can be transformational for individuals and communities but are not available in many parts of the country. We would love to see an adult learning system which put more funding and more emphasis on the vital skills for democracy and community resilience – as the Commission Report recommends.
Naomi Diamond, Programme Manager of the Community Organisers Expansion Programme

To read the Centenary Commission’s community organising case studies and recommendation, please click on the links below:

Case Study 4: Barton Hill Settlement

Case Study 8: The Selby Trust

Recommendation 3.ii: Adult Learning Partnerships and community organising

Read the full report HERE:

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