Agenda item


To provide the findings and recommendations of the Adult Learning and Skills Task Group, set up to consider what changes to adult learning and skills policy and provision would meet the economic and social needs of the community and deliver relevant environmental commitments.



Chris Townsend, Chairman of the Task Group

Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Education and Learning

Liz Mills, Director – Education and Lifelong Learning


Key points made in the discussion:

  1. The Chairman commended members of the task group for producing a comprehensive review of how the Council and its partners can respond to the challenges of adult learning.


  1. The Chairman of the Task Group thanked all those who had participated in their research. He stressed the importance of having a centralised and publicly accessible database to make everyone aware of what adult learning is being provided and where in order to demonstrate where the gaps lie, for example in Mole Valley. He highlighted the imbalance between types of provision in the East and West of Surrey.


  1. The Director of Education and Learning said she welcomed the report’s breadth and thoroughness. It was an important staging post and they would take the recommendations to the Adult Learning Service’s governing body.


  1. A Member questioned the feasibility of every library in Surrey operating as an adult learning facility. The Chairman noted the recommendation had been modified accordingly.


  1. A Member said recommendations were about residents’ wellbeing, not just aiding economic growth, and urged that community learning and work-related skills should be equally valued and not subject to a postcode lottery.


  1. A Member said the report identifies economically inactive communities in Surrey who were being left behind because the Council was not reaching them in terms of skills development.


  1. The Cabinet Member for Education and Learning observed the level of detail in the report but was disappointed it did not highlight the work done to help people with additional needs into employment. She pointed out its interconnectedness with the Pathways to Employment model and Lifetime of Learning Strategy. She noted that the responsibility for skills sits with the Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Growth. The Task Group Chairman informed her that the report had been shared with him.


  1. The Chairman offered further discussion on the topic following the meeting.



The Children, Families, Lifelong Learning and Culture Select Committee:

  1. Endorses all recommendations of the Adult Learning and Skills Task Group. This includes the recommendation on using libraries, while noting this may be very challenging in some smaller libraries.


2.    Asks the relevant officers to provide a progress report to this Select Committee on the progress being made in relation to the Task Group’s recommendations at the first Select Committee meeting of 2024, to include an analysis of the funding implications.

Supporting documents: