Grants to Improve Adult Learning
The UK has worked to improve adult literacy, language and numeracy for some years. Recent efforts in this field are as strong as ever, with £3 billion going into adult learning initiatives in 2007/8 to help 4.2 million people.
With such amounts of money and numbers of people, there are inevitably many adult learning schemes around. These vary according to the body that runs them and the educational priorities of the English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish governments.
Despite the prevalence of schemes, however, organisations that wish to deliver their own adult learning initiatives can apply for grants. These grants differ according to each UK region; but those offered by one major funding supplier, the LSC, give a clear idea of what’s available.
The LSCThe LSC (Learning and Skills Council) operates in England. Its purpose is to achieve two aims: to broaden the availability of adult literacy, language and numeracy courses, and to increase the number of people who take part.
The LSC is therefore interested in any organisation that hopes to develop such aims.
Types of FundingThe LSC has several types of funding to meet different needs.
A body that intends to offer adult learners a fully rounded literacy, language and numeracy scheme should apply for Mainstream LSC Funding. Such a comprehensive programme usually involves learning that leads to nationally recognised qualifications.
Organisations that focus on parents and carers can apply for Family Literacy, Language and Numeracy Funding. The LSC awards grants to bodies that aim to improve the ability of parents and carers to help children with their basic educational needs and literacy skills.
Those organisations that work with disadvantaged groups can apply for Neighbourhood Learning in Deprived Communities grants. The organisations must offer learning programmes themselves, or work with adult learning providers. The award of a grant also depends on the extent local people help to develop and manage the learning process.
Voluntary and community sector organisations can receive grants from the LSC’s Local Intervention and Development Fund. The main condition of a grant is the ability of a voluntary or community sector body to offer adult learning in deprived areas.
Finally, the LSC has a Discretionary Fund. Any organisation can bid for grants from this fund. Applications, however, must account for the needs and priorities outlined by local LSCs. The LSC generally makes discretionary grant awards to bodies that come up with ways to encourage adults to take part in adult learning schemes.
Amounts of FundingFunding calculations can be complex. They may involve 'weighting' and 'uplift' provisions that take account of specific needs groups of adult learners may have.
The LSC can provide full details and current funding rates.
ApplicationsAny organisation based in England that wants to apply for a grant must contact its local LSC. The LSC explains what it is looking for; what local priorities there are; and what targets the organisation must meet. It also gives advice about the application process.
Similarly, the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive can provide details of funding to improve adult learning within their respective countries.