Alex Stevenson

Head of English, Maths & ESOL

Alex Stevenson is Head of English, Maths & ESOL at Learning and Work Institute, leading on the development of a Citizens’ Curriculum approach in adult learning. He also contributes to wider research and development activity on English and maths within Learning and Work Institute’s ‘Life and Society’ Strategic Plan.

Alex’s recent projects have included research on current issues in ESOL, English and maths policy, including the implementation of new GCSEs in English and maths, ESOL learners’ progression to Functional Skills English, and intensive English and maths provision for unemployed adults. He is currently managing the Citizens’ Curriculum pilot project, as well as Learning and Work Institute’s contribution to a number of European partnership projects in basic skills.

Before joining NIACE in 2013, Alex taught, managed and developed ESOL, English and maths provision for over 13 years in several settings in the learning and skills sector. His MA research, awarded a distinction, focused on supporting young adult ESOL learners’ progression to vocational courses.

Alex is a committed lifelong learner, having completed a number of professional qualifications whilst working, and an avid reader. He follows the fortunes of Manchester United and the England test cricket team, and occasionally dusts down his Fender Tele to knock out the odd funk guitar lick.



Reflections on the Annual English, Maths and ESOL Conference
16 November 2017 by Alex Stevenson

Reflections on the Annual English, Maths and ESOL Conference

Last week, Learning and Work’s annual conference on supporting adults with English, maths and ESOL took place at UCL Institute of Education.  This major event – organised in partnership with UCL IoE, RaPAL, NATECLA and UCU...Read more »

Why we need to wake up to falling participation in adult basic skills
18 October 2017 by Alex Stevenson

Why we need to wake up to falling participation in adult basic skills

Normally, I’d rather watch an outstanding learner testimony to the impact of learning to read and write than delve into the 19+ English and maths participation statistics, but the most recent figures are compelling. Only not...Read more »

10 July 2017 by Alex Stevenson

Supporting Syrian Refugee Resettlement with ESOL

If you were impelled by war, civil unrest or persecution to flee your home and seek refuge abroad, what kinds of support would you need to help you resettle and re-build your life in a new...Read more »

Traineeship programme 7 February 2017 by Alex Stevenson

L&W seek RARPA case studies

Learning and Work Institute would like to speak to providers in England who use Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement (RARPA), following changes to the Adult Education Budget (AEB). Recent flexibilities allowed in the AEB mean...Read more »

19 January 2017 by Alex Stevenson

How the UK can make English language learning work

Learning benefits individuals, families, the wider community and the economy. It’s linked with better employment outcomes, improved physical and mental health, and increased social cohesion. Opportunities to learn are particularly important for people starting life in a...Read more »

16 February 2016 by Alex Stevenson

Why basic skills without employer support just isn’t cricket

I’m quite possibly the only person in the country who associates beating Australia at cricket with delivering workplace basic skills.   Like most England cricket fans, I can remember exactly where I was when England won the...Read more »

25 November 2015 by Alex Stevenson

Unlocking local talent through the Citizens’ Curriculum

Alex Stevenson explains how devolution has the potential to develop better adult learning opportunities that genuinely meet the needs of local residents, local communities and the local economy.

4 November 2015 by Alex Stevenson

English, maths and ESOL for 21st Century Citizens

Following our annual English, maths and ESOL conference, Alex Stevenson explores whether we need a broader definition of 'Skills for Life' to reflect today's society. 

1 October 2015 by Alex Stevenson

ESOL and Citizenship: The End of an Era?

Alex Stevenson explores the latest policy changes to ESOL and Citizenship.

16 September 2015 by Alex Stevenson

Making an impact through the Citizens’ Curriculum

Alex Stevenson discusses how a Citizens' Curriculum can make a positive impact on adult learning following on from the European Agenda for Adult Learning Conference that was held in London 10th-11th September 2015 as part of our #EUlearning series. 

New report on improving ESOL provision making headlines
18 August 2014 by Alex Stevenson

New report on improving ESOL provision making headlines

It’s not often that ESOL hits the headlines, but last night’s BBC Newsnight provided a welcome focus in the mainstream media on ESOL provision and its importance for the one million or so people in England and Wales believed not to speak English fluently.

Towards a Citizens’ Curriculum
29 July 2014 by Alex Stevenson

Towards a Citizens’ Curriculum

What kind of adult learning opportunities would engage and support the most disadvantaged people, in a range of settings and circumstances? What kinds of adult learning could empower adults to take greater control over their lives,...Read more »

Better access to ESOL is crucial for progress in education, work and life
7 January 2014 by Alex Stevenson

Better access to ESOL is crucial for progress in education, work and life

You may have come across a recent article in the Guardian on the parliamentary inquiry that will look into concerns and grievances that remain after Gurkhas were granted the right to settle in the UK in 2009.

How can ESOL Learners Progress to Functional Skills?
20 November 2013 by Alex Stevenson

How can ESOL Learners Progress to Functional Skills?

With Government policy clearly stating that ESOL provision is expected to support learners’ progression to Functional Skills, it’s perhaps worth taking a few moments to reflect on what this entails.

14 October 2013 by Alex Stevenson

The Adult Skills Survey (PIAAC) – What Does It Mean for ESOL?

As the OECD’s Adult Skills Survey itself says, it’s hardly surprising that foreign language immigrants have lower proficiency in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.