Adult Education: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th April 2021.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support colleges to offer an increased capacity for adult skills as part of a covid-19 recovery package.

Photo of Gillian Keegan Gillian Keegan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We know that adults, aged 19 and over, are being adversely impacted by disruptions to their learning. Adult Education Budget (AEB) funded learners, aged 19 and over, do have the ability to pause their learning and return to it later. Students aged 19 to 24 with an education health and care plan will continue to access catch up support from the Tuition Fund.

For adults aged 19 and over we introduced a change to the AEB funding rules for the 2020-21 academic year to enable providers to use learner support funds to purchase IT devices and/or internet access for disadvantaged students to help them meet technology costs. In areas where the AEB budget is devolved, mayoral authorities determine adult student support arrangements.

We are also investing £95 million from the National Skills Fund in the free courses for jobs offer over the current Spending Review period. This offer gives an estimated 11 million adults in England who are 24 and over and do not yet have A levels or equivalent qualifications the opportunity to take their first level 3 qualification for free.

This £95 million includes a funding uplift for qualifications included in this offer, to support providers to scale up their level 3 provision for adults and meet the needs of adult learners as we build back better from the COVID-19 outbreak.

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