Citizens’ Curriculum needed now more than ever

22 November 2016

Statistics released by the UK Government have shown a significant fall in adults participating in English and Maths courses in England. 

The Department for Education’s Further Education and Skills statistics show there has been a fall of over 100,000 adults participating in the last year alone, which is the lowest participation in almost a decade.

In England, over 9m adults need support to improve low literacy and/or numeracy skills – this locks people out of opportunities in life and in work.

To tackle this shortfall, Learning and Work Institute is urging the Government to adopt a new Citizens’ Skills Entitlement and to deliver these skills, Learning and Work is calling for a Citizens’ Curriculum 

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute commented:

“In light of these figures, we’re calling for a new national effort to help adults improve their skills. We need this to boost our economy and make sure everyone gets the best chance in life.

“A weak skills base holds back our future prosperity, but also contributes to poverty – while having skills is not a guarantee of avoiding poverty, lack of skills is almost a guaranteed passport to poverty.

“The UK’s learning and skills system delivers opportunities and second chances every day. But we need to do more so that people get a hand up when they need it. Poverty is not inevitable and improving skills can help to tackle it.

“These are practical and affordable changes, building on what already works and changing what works less well. Taken together, these changes would provide a framework for increasing our overall national prosperity, cutting poverty and increasing opportunity.”

Learning and Work is proposing that by 2030 all adults should have access to the literacy, numeracy, digital, health and financial capability skills they need.  Our innovative Citizens’ Curriculum model recognises that literacy and numeracy skills are linked to wider capabilities, for example in digital, health and personal finance.  By tapping into what motivated adults to learn, it can help engage more people in English and maths learning.  

Providers can use the Citizens’ Curriculum model to deliver more creative and engaging models – for example by creating programmes of study which integrate literacy, digital and other learning and use the available funding more efficiently.

This should be funded by refocusing existing budgets and investing an additional £200m per year investment.