Bedfordshire and Luton, 6th December, 2012
How can we work together?
This was the main theme at the launch of the Beds and Luton Community Learning trust in December, where over 100 delegates met in Central Bedfordshire to consider this question. Hosted by five of the 321 national agencies directly funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), the conference was structured to collect feedback from round table discussions which occurred after each presentation.
The group’s responses produced the same types of answers, thus giving a clear steer to the SFA stakeholders (three county colleges, Luton Adult Learning, and the Learning partnership itself).
- We need to know what other local third sector groups are doing.
- How about a bid for specialisms to the Learning Partnership?
- How can we use and develop the expertise from those not now directly funded by SFA, especially in order to learn how to work on a shoestring?
- How can we know that we will receive high quality provision from the stakeholders?
- Suggestion that each of the partners in the Trusts must pledge to keep other organisations updated, as a matter of course.
- Can we as members of Trusts come to an agreement on how to define the soft options in learning, so that they can be included in the way we measure learning effectiveness?
For me, resting on decades of Adult Learning experience, the excitement of the providers explaining animatedly about “new” initiatives, such as including “leisure courses” or “linking with local clubs” evoked a wry smile. Heavens, we were doing that back in the 80s! But my lips were sealed. Let the excitement of the moment spur them on, I thought. After all, adult educators in the past allowed me my moment of “divine revelation”.
Community learning trusts are being launched across the nation. What should be ECA’s contribution? How are YOU responding to your local Trust? The ECA needs to hear from YOU.
There is a great privilege in responding locally with a national organisation behind you. Moreover, the emphasis at ECA is on learning and the learner – a point that is easily lost when delegates focus is on “community” (where are the groups of hard to reach people?) and “Trusts” (oh dear, the funding is being flattened and everyone is losing funding and …… and……and we’ll have to work together, but who among us is going to survive?).
We’re looking for positive stories of how YOU in your local area, are making it work. Let’s hear from you!
Judith Robinson, ECA Trustee
Date Added: December 13th 2012