In November 2019 the Centenary Commission on Adult Education published its report, “A Permanent National Necessity…”  Adult Education and Lifelong Learning for 21st Century Britain. This took as its inspiration the 1919 British Ministry of Reconstruction report on Adult Education – at issued at the end of the “war to end all wars”.

Adult education campaign launch

The 1919 Report

The 1919 report explored new opportunities and argued that adult education needs public funding not to support employment but to stimulate societal change with everyone, including the working class, involved in constructing society for the future. This idea of education for citizenship was fundamental.

Building on the work of the Centenary Commission 

The 2019 Centenary Commission identified a need for a new reconstruction to equip society for the today’s and future challenges. It made 18 recommendations. To coincide with the centenary of the 1919 report, its publication took place in November 2019, during the general election. Subsequently, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown government planning into uncertainty.

We need to think through the Centenary Commission’s report in the light of (likely substantial) post-COVID-19 changes in society, economy, and the role and volume of public funding for adult education.

The Centenary Commission Report showed examples of the many different and creative ways adults are learning. In response to COVID-19, “social distancing” is requiring people of all ages to engaged digitally. Issues of digital exclusion and digital poverty are significant, but there are many examples of people helping others, as individuals and in groups, online and in person.

About the Research Circles webinar

We are now proposing the formation of online research circles to build and develop the Centenary Commission’s agenda and recommendations after the COVID-19 emergency. These research circles will bring together groups of adults to work on ways of developing the Centenary Commission report.

We’ll introduce the webinar with a brief summary on the findings that emerged from the Reconstructing Society series held earlier this year, after which Dr Sharon Clancy (University of Nottingham) and Professor John Diamond (Edge Hill University) will speak briefly about approaches to engagement in research, sharing their thoughts on how the research circles may develop over the coming weeks and months.

The aim and structure

The aim of this webinar is to plan how self-directing research circles can collect evidence to build the campaign for better adult education.

Each research circle should focus on a particular theme of the report, collecting evidence and developing proposals in that area.

The research circles will rethink the Centenary Commission’s ideas in the light of COVID-19. We propose that there should be one for each of the Report’s six foci:

  1. Framing and Delivering a National Ambition
  2. Ensuring Basic Skills
  3. Fostering Community, Democracy and Dialogue
  4. Promoting Creativity, Innovation and Informal Learning
  5. Securing Individual Learning and Wellbeing
  6. Attending the World of Work

Each group will consider questions such as:

  • What has been learned from the COVID-19 experience that is of lasting value?
  • How can learning take place online and still be embedded in local contexts?
  • What kinds of learning will be needed after the lockdown? For what purposes, and for whom?

Register for the webinar

If you would be interested in being part of the next step of this unique project then please book a free ticket below. You will then be sent a further email with instructions on how to join the webinar.

Please pay close attention to these instructions, as you will be asked to identify the research circle theme you would like to focus on. We plan that some of the discussion at the webinar will be in groups – we cannot guarantee that you will be allocated to a group focusing on your area of interest, but we shall do our best!

Numbers for this initial webinar and each research circle are limited, so we cannot guarantee that your first choice of research circle will be available.

Like many charities, our work has been severely impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

At the checkout you'll see the option to add a donation amount to your free ticket. If you are in a position to do so, please give what you can.

Your support will mean that we can continue our life changing work right across the world, empowering people to change their lives for the better.

Booking for this event has now closed.