Thursday, July 10, 2014

Adult learning in the West End - an update

Last month, I highlighted my concerns about reductions in adult learning provision that has left the West End without a dedicated adult learning worker.

Earlier today, I had a meeting with the City Council's Adult Learning Manager about the issue.     Whilst being realistic that overturning the SNP administration's cuts in adult learning was not going to be possible, what I did want to see at the very least for the West End is :

+ Named officers that constituents who are looking for adult learning opportunities can contact.

+ Assurances that West End residents can access adult learning opportunities across the city.

+ An assurance that the Adult Learning Team will help support the establishment of a new Harris Education and Recreation Association when Harris Academy returns to the Perth Road on completion of the new school building in August 2016.    I am anxious that the community gets full access to the excellent facilities the new school will offer and that a vibrant programme of evening classes is on offer.

I found our meeting today very helpful.     The three assurances I sought were given and the following follow-up e-mail from the Adult Learning Manager summarises the situation :
In addition to the targeted  geographic areas we have thematic leads :
Literacy/numeracy : Sheila Robertson 
English for Speakers of other  languages : Kirsty Gemmell
Family Learning : Sarah McEwan 
Employability : Liz Allardice 
Therefore, if the question relates to a  thematic area, I would suggest they go to that Senior. If it is a wider issue in relation to Adult Learning provision then to myself.
In addition, we are continuing with our commitment to support Adult Education Associations and Liz Allardice is supporting the Adult Education Associations in Stobswell and Broughty Ferry and we would extend this support to helping set up a new Adult Education Association for Harris.
I have made a note to catch up with you about this next August to start setting this up. 
I would also stress that  although our provision  may not  be geographically based in The Ferry or West End Wards the facilities at Mitchell Street are open to anyone in the city.   Additionally, people from the West End and Broughty Ferry Wards can access our services in other community venues  if there is evidence of need but they won't be based in their localities due to the reduction in our resource.
I can pass on contact details of appropriate adult learning staff to any constituent interested in specific adult learning opportunities and more information is available at www.discoverlearning.org.   You can also download the Summer 2014 Dundee Adult Learning Newsletter here.