NIACE welcomes new Social Justice strategy

20th March 2012

NIACE welcomes the Government’s launch of the new Social Justice strategy – Social Justice: Transforming Lives – as it contains much which NIACE believes will please adult educators across the country.

Social Justice: Transforming Lives is based on two fundamental principles:

1. There needs to be prevention throughout a person’s life with carefully designed interventions to stop people falling off track and into difficult circumstances. This process needs to start with families, reform of the school and justice systems, the welfare system and beyond.

2. The strategy sets out the goal of a ‘second chance society’. Anybody who needs a second chance in society should be able to access the support and tools they need to transform their lives.

NIACE welcomes this new, positive joined-up approach that reflects the organisation’s earlier focus on learning through the life course in the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into Lifelong Learning – Learning Through Life. NIACE works to ensure that learning for all is seen as an integral part of enhancing family life, health and employment. This strategy supports a change in the narrative of learning and skills for those who are most vulnerable and highlights its wider social and economic value.

David Hughes, NIACE Chief Executive, said:

“This is an approach we can all welcome and influence at both a national and local level. NIACE has argued, for a long-time, that people deserve second and even third chances. For too many people and for too long, as Helena Kennedy found, ‘if at first you don’t succeed – you don’t succeed’. We will be helping to influence the solutions on this agenda, including the important role of family learning in addressing generational under-achievement in learning and recognising that if parents can be given a second-chance in learning, then their children are more likely to succeed in education, in work and in life. I’m delighted to see a move to a more inclusive and joined up approach to access around social justice rather than through the narrower definitions around social mobility. Whilst we will continue to highlight and work to address issues for those who lose out as a result of changes, this is a trajectory that we can all welcome.”

NIACE will make a detailed response to support members to engage with this agenda.