14th November 2018 | London

Organised by Learning and Work Institute, UCL Institute of Education, UCU, RaPAL and NATECLA: a joint conference on supporting adults with English, maths and ESOL.

The annual conference on English, maths and ESOL is the only sector event dedicated to adult literacy, numeracy and English language policy, practice and research.

The need to tackle poor basic skills has never been greater.  Nine million adults in the UK have low literacy or numeracy.  This is simply not acceptable in a modern society.  Poor basic skills hold back individuals, communities and limit the productivity of our businesses. Yet participation in basic skills is currently falling, with 25% fewer adults in 17/18 taking up courses which develop these essential skills.  As practitioners, providers, researchers and policy-makers, we share a responsibility to drive up participation.

The Government has announced major plans to boost social mobility, create integrated communities, and review post-18 education and funding, to ensure our education system delivers the future skills the economy needs after exiting the European Union.  These initiatives risk failure without sufficient investment and a sustained strategy to address poor basic skills, and boost participation in literacy, numeracy and ESOL learning.

At the same time, technical reforms to English and maths qualifications, adult education budget devolution and the basic digital skills entitlement all provide opportunities to innovate and to do things differently. This conference exists to share insights from policy, research and practice, helping participants to make the most of these opportunities and develop new ways of working to overcome the current challenges.

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