Labour calls for action on 'catastrophic fall' in adult learning

Tuesday 06th August 2019 15:44 EDT

Labour has renewed calls for a "cradle-to-grave" National Education Service, after a "catastrophic fall" in adult learners.

Shadow education minister Gordon Marsden has called for action, saying government cuts have led to fewer adults choosing to study later in life.

Labour says millions of adults in the UK lack basic skills and are unable to access education and training.

The government says further education and skills is a priority.

Labour's says its Nation Education Service - a 2017 manifesto pledge - would be "free at the point of use" and "open to all regardless of age, background or circumstance".

A learner-centred system could help reverse the decline in adult learning, according to the party's Lifelong Learning Commission.

The commission's interim report says that "lifelong learning should ensure that all individuals can access the high-quality education and training they need throughout their lives, to improve their lives and their life chances".

The report quotes 2018 figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, suggesting that funding for adult learning and apprenticeships has fallen by 45% in real terms since 2009-10.

"Lifelong learning is about social justice and personal empowerment," Mr Marsden said, as well as the reskilling the "country desperately needs".

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