Chris Quickfall, CEO Cognassist

It’s really no secret that the pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the education sector in recent history. Attainment across all age groups has sadly – although perhaps understandably - been impacted by the unprecedented disruption of lockdown on learning provision. It has also been exceptionally challenging for learners with additional needs to access the kind of assistance they require, with many of the established in-person support networks unavailable during this time.

While there has been some awareness of provision for learning needs in relation to children’s education and schools’ budgets, the challenges faced by those in adult education have been sadly underreported during the pandemic. Education does not start and end during childhood, of course, and the acquisition and development of lifetime skills is vital for many people who want to upskill and gain employability throughout their adult life. This is especially true during difficult economic circumstances – and especially challenging for adults with additional learning needs.

Thankfully, learning and training providers can make use of the AEB (Adult Education Budget) to offer specialised support to those with additional needs. For those who may not know, the AEB is a government-funded programme that can be accessed by employers and educational institutions to fund a wide range of training and upskilling programmes. The problem is, the AEB is often not leveraged enough, with some perhaps unaware that it exists specifically to increase accessibility for adult learners with additional needs.

Identifying additional needs

We know that adults seeking additional education and training will come from a range of backgrounds. Many will be unemployed – some will have been out of the workforce for quite a large period of time, while others may have lost an apprenticeship programme or been made redundant from their job quite recently due to the pandemic. Some may simply be switching careers and looking for additional assistance with the change. It’s likely that many will be re-entering education for the first time since leaving school.

As well as different backgrounds, everyone will have different requirements based on the way their brain thinks and learns. All brains are unique and providing support to help all learners reach their full potential is often a case of understanding and identifying the needs that apply to each individual as a result. Cognassist data shows that one in every four people have some form of hidden learning need that requires some form of support. learning difficulty . Making adult learning environments more inclusive and accessible to people with different backgrounds and abilities is critical, and it begins with identifying and understanding individual needs.

Encouraging adult learners requires education providers to take a more personalised approach that considers provision for individual needs. Providers can do this by mapping out their course journey and support structure in a clear and meaningful way. While the specific learner journey and outcomes will differ depending on the type of training an organisation provides, the need for a clear support framework to help break down barriers to work or further study remains the same. This framework must support the entire learning journey – think of it not simply a foundation, but as scaffolding to guide progress at each stage.

Providing more effective support

Once specific needs are identified and a framework is in place to support them, the next step is to provide high impact support for each learning journey. It’s vital this support is aligned toa learner’s needs and can be adapted to how those needs might change. High-impact support often goes beyond course content – it is not just about designing the curriculum in a certain way, but about helping learners to understand how to approach tasks that are being set. High-impact support is important because it develops educational behaviours, helping learners to gain soft skills alongside course knowledge.

This is where AEB allocation can empower the provider to support the learner. There are clear guidelines on how the AEB can be used to support learners with additional learning needs. There is also a clear precedent set by the Equality Act 2010: adult education providers have a responsibility to support those with learning difficulties and disabilities through reasonable adjustments and targeted support that help level the playing field. Providers should empower learners directly to participate in decisions about their learning. It is important to work collaboratively with learners to determine the appropriate reasonable adjustments they can provide, and for the learning provider to then meet the cost of putting in place those reasonable adjustments.

Thankfully, more and more educators are adapting the way they deliver training and breaking down the barriers to education, bringing noticeable benefits for their own business and, more importantly, for their learners. Inclusive education is not merely a way of integrating more learners into mainstream education, but rather an approach that can transform education systems in order to meet the needs and cognitive diversities of all learners. Education can provide huge opportunities for adults, and we can use funding schemes such as the AEB to create learning environments where no one feels excluded from achieving success. Collectively, we have a duty to guarantee that learners are not at a significant disadvantage to their peers simply because they think differently. Perhaps we, as a sector, must also think differently about how to build better learning experiences and ensure that no learner is ever left behind.

By Chris Quickfall, CEO Cognassist

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

#SkillsWorldLive Video: Why is it important to have diversity in apprenticeships?

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Edge Future Learning - Making education relevant...

Building on our work with Edge Future Learning Leaders and Partners around the world, our model includes three key principles that help bring...

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page