How are the priorities for Adult Education Budget and its Allocation changing?

On the 20th March 2020 the Government announced that the ESFA will continue to pay grant funded providers their scheduled monthly profiled payments for the remainder of the 2019 to 2020 funding year. The funding will be in line with the current agreement schedule with no clawback, as long as Adult Education Providers can fulfil the conditions of their existing contracts and prove that learners are continuing to complete their qualification/course remotely wherever possible. This pandemic has and will continue to reshape the priorities within the Adult Education sector, its allocation and how it is spent.

What have we learnt in recent weeks?

  • Learners are much more resilient, adaptable and savvy than what we thought, as long as Education Providers have given them key skills and have taken into account how they learn.
  • The importance of having a demand led adult education provision adaptable to changing economic, social and environmental conditions.
  • The pandemic has brought new learning needs and requirements to the forefront of adult education provision including digital skills, independent living, infection control and mental health & well-being; ultimately showing the importance of considering learners’ needs and adapting provision to accommodate.
  • The importance of understanding adults’ motivations for learning and how they want to learn. In recent months Centres have seen a rise in: demand from furloughed learners with time to upskill and gain new skills for employment; digital learning including by adults still in work; and a rise in demand from key workers needing to be upskilled in other areas, such as mental health and infection control. This is now a priority for their underspent AEB.

What could the future look like and what are Education Providers’ plans for their AEB funding?

Going forward it’s likely that we will see more flexibility and responsiveness in adult education provision and Adult Education Budget (AEB) allocation. AEB provision will continue to be a continuous flow of activity reflective of demands at different periods across the academic year, but Education Providers will now look to have more than one plan so they are prepared for rapid change if it was to happen again.

With the economic outlook changing so quickly, Education Providers will be looking to work more closely with combined and local authorities, and local enterprise partnerships, to ensure their provision is satisfying their priorities in supporting current labour market conditions and also future economic and social developments.

In addition, Education Providers will need to factor in the changing motivations and needs of learners, as well as the ways they want to learn. It’s likely that there will be a rise in learners wanting to study online, and we’ve heard from Centres that they are planning to teach digital skills at the start of courses, for example in ESOL courses. With this in mind there will need to be different engagement strategies in place for different types of learners.

Now more than ever adult education provision needs to continue to build resilience in adults with a focus on employability, digital skills, mental health, healthy living and minimising risk.

Our popular Qualifications for Adult Education Budget (AEB)

During this pandemic we are finding that Education Providers are using their underspent AEB on the following qualifications:

Digital Skills

The below qualifications are mapped to the National Occupational Standards:

Entry 3 Award in Developing Online Digital Skills

Entry 3 Award in Skills for Digital Transactions

Level 1 Award in Skills for Digital Transactions

Mental Health

Level 2 Award in Mental Health & Well-being – this qualification is designed to give learners the knowledge and understanding of different types of conditions, the impacts of mental health and how to support themselves and others.  It’s accompanied by free interactive online learning resources and a learner assessment booklet that can be used to build a portfolio of evidence.

Short Online Qualifications

These online qualifications contain practical applications to daily life, work and study, allowing learners to develop a diverse range of life skills.

Level 1 Award in Mental Health & Well-being

Level 1 Award in Personal Health & Well-being

Entry 3 Award in Healthy Living for Well-being and Mental Health

Entry 3 Award in Internet Safety for IT Users

Level 1 and Level 2 in Healthy Living

Level 1 Award in Social Media and Online Safety

Level 1 Award in Managing Personal Finance

Level 1 Award in Understanding Employment, Business and Enterprise

Coming soon is a brand new Short Online Qualification in Infection Control – Level 1 Award in Promoting Health and Preventing the Spread of Infection

Employability and Progression to Further Learning and Work

These qualifications are designed to help learners develop skills, attributes and values which will enable them to overcome barriers to employment and further study; build self-esteem and a positive attitude to work and study, helping them to take steps into further study and employment.

The most popular qualifications in our Employability suite are our Work Preparation qualifications available at Entry 3 and Level 1.

Popular qualifications in our Progression to Further Learning and Work suite are:

Entry 1, 2 and 3 Award/ Certificate/ Diploma in Independent Living

Entry 3 and Level 1 Award in The Importance pf Resilience and Grit

Entry 3 Award and Level 1 and 2 Award/ Certificate/ Diploma in Progression

Level 1 Award in Induction to a Learning Environment 

 Level 1 Award in Managing Transitions

New Qualifications coming soon

Essential Digital Skills

Ready for teaching in the new academic year, we have two brand new Essential Digital Skills Qualifications – Entry 3 and Level 1 Award in Essential Digital Skills for Work & Life. These qualifications are mapped to the new Essential Digital Skills Framework and are ideal for adults with little or no digital skills. These will also be fully funded under the Legal Entitlement Offer for learners aged 19+.

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