Adults learn in a wide variety of settings and there can be many kinds of 'centres' where learning takes place. The ECA believes that creating communities of learners is an essential element in building a successful and enduring system of lifelong learning and strengthening communities.
We have long advocated for adequate representation of learners in the governance of adult learning organisations and in 2006 secured inclusion of this component in the Further Education White Paper 'Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances'. Further work is being undertaken in connection with 'The Personalisation of Learning' which gives centrality to learner engagement.
The Association is committed to promoting the establishment of adult education centres within suitably equipped buildings and to the sustainability of their operations.
As a result of the Government's drive to encourage more adults to take part in learning activities, funds have been made available to open new centres of learning. Although many of these have featured access to IT as their main activity, there are some where a wide range of community-based activities take place.
A healthy mix of traditional and new centres of learning will provide diversity and choice not only in terms of social inclusion, but also in subject, levels of learning, styles of learning, location and the learning environment. A range of other locally based organisations has been developed in support of adult learning and many of these are rapidly becoming centres of expertise and enthusiasm for building a culture of continuous learning throughout life.
Current ECA members include:
- Community Projects
- Further Education Colleges
- Adult Education Colleges, Centres and Services
- Adult Education Members' Associations
- Museums and Galleries Education
- Cultural Organisations
- Information, Advice and Guidance Services
- Learning Partnerships
- Individual Members
ECA Member Profiles
These are just 3 of the varied selection of members of the ECA
Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery
The Leicester Peoples Photographic Gallery was founded in 2011 by the current manager, Ian Davies, as an integral part of the Leicester Adult Education College. It provides an affordable exhibition space dedicated to high quality photography which is presented in a non-elitist manner. It is run by volunteer local photographers and is supported by several businesses including John E Wright the printers, the Leicester Mercury and Blue/Gray lighting as well as using space provided in the College by Leicester City Council. Adrian Nicholls, from John E Wright, was named as a Cultural Champion by Arts and Business for his contribution to the Gallery in 2012.
The Gallery runs a full programme of learning activities from Photo walks through to specialist workshops run by local photographers. It also signposts people to courses at the Adult Education College. The exhibition space is used by various photographic societies as well as students from Leicester College and De Montfort University. In 2012, the Gallery hosted a photography exhibition to celebrate Parliament Week with the support of the Educational Centres Association.
The Centre for Youth & Community Development, Luton
The centre began in 1979 as a direct response to lack of youth activities in the area. A group of young people in a brave act of active citizenship were determined to stand up and challenge the status quo.
Today their original youth work continues strongly with a great sporting tradition, but the centre has added other facilities and attracted families and adults through its luncheon clubs and advice centre. The pre-school keeps expanding. The centre has also begun to expand its potential for adult learning with classes run by local Barnfield College and it is this provision that the Centre is looking to the ECA to help them to support and expand.
Bassingbourn Village College
Bassingbourn Village College was first opened as a Community school in 1954 and has continued to provide learning opportunities for nearly 50 years for the Community.Our adult classes have almost gone full circle now from the classes in 1954 which offered Advanced Pig Keeping, Gardening on Chalk, Bee Keeping, Our Homes and Our Children, Books, Reading and Life and Christmas Baking, Canoe Building and many others. Over the years Bassingbourn Community Education has built up a reputation for being a warm, friendly place helping to provide what the Community requires in terms of adult and family learning alongside the teaching and learning of our young people.
To read more about the working day of Barbara Isherwood, Community Education Manager at Bassingbourn, Click here.