City Lit Blog

Support the Adult Education sector at this challenging time

Story added 27th Mar 2020


City Lit supports Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, David Hughes' letter to the Education Secretary, outlining outstanding issues for colleges dealing with Covid-19. The letter asks him to “Make quick announcements on these issues, to allow college leaders to make the right decisions for their communities, students and staff and provide as much assurance as we can to people at the sharp end." Further, he comments "We recognise how difficult this time is for everyone, including the Government but decisions in the coming days and weeks are required to assist colleges in tackling the challenges face now and in the future”.

The main five areas he highlights as requiring clarification and further decisions are:

  • The need to start work now on future skills.
  • Clarity on the job retention scheme
  • Confirmation on adult education budget tolerance
  • Resolving outstanding apprenticeship issues
  • Setting up a simpler emergency financial support scheme 

City Lit supports adults of all ages and backgrounds, from different communities throughout London, including individuals who experience particularly challenging circumstances. We do this through the courses we offer, the outreach work we provide, our flexible provision and the openness of our campus. Our focus on creating in-person communities is one of the reasons the current situation has been so challenging for us. Making the decision to suspend face to face teaching was incredibly difficult, however, our tutors and staff have shown exceptional creativity in switching to deliver what content we can online so that we may continue our important link to as many of our students as possible.

Whilst we are shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues in the adult education sector, in one key way we are different from most of them. Our mixed funding model means that we rely on half of our income coming from fee-paying students. This mixed model allows us to deliver a diverse range of courses, over 6,000 per year, to all Londonders, but also allows us to carry out our crucial work with marginalised sections of the communities which we serve.

The impact of current closure means a significant impact on the College's income, both for the forthcoming Summer Term and possibly for the next academic year, dependent on when we can resume face to face teaching and how significant the economic fall out from Covid-19 will be.  We therefore strongly support the AoC's call for specific support for adult education and financial measures which cushion the impact for the next academic year.  

By Phil Chamberlain, Executive Director External Engagement at City Lit