Current changes in adult education
The subjects of this thesis are the current changes in adult education and their effects, focusing on the provision of local education authority (LEA) adult education. I have discussed the past century of adult education and related more recent policies to a case study of an adult education centre. LEA management structures of five counties were analysed and linked to their adult education provision. Within these counties I have investigated LEA adult education providers' partnerships, particularly those with secondary schools and further education (FE) colleges. Structured interviews were conducted with students, county administrators and a Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) adult education policy team leader. Lifelong learning is high on the political agenda throughout Europe, both for its alleged ability to improve national competitiveness and for the promotion of social cohesion. Yet at the same time LEA adult education has been marginalised as a direct result of government policy. Legislation weakened local authorities and divided the curriculum which left only the, so called, 'leisure' classes for adults to be organised by LEAs. Moreover, marketplace competition between providers has inhibited collaborative partnership. In the 2000 Learning and Skills Act, LEAs have the opportunity to make a 'key contribution' to the provision of adult education. The results of my research suggest that some LEAs must restructure and then cultivate harmonious partnerships in order to play a major part in developing a learning society.