Treat your mind to a weekend trip

Pick mushrooms, paint pubs, taste wines or learn eco-DIY – all in a country setting

Pay talks open as low morale bites

College staff are so fed up with their pay they are going on strike on Monday

'Further education is critical for developing local workforces'

A message from Martin Doelat the Association of Colleges

Education Diary: Save Adult Education campaign

What is going on in adult education? As we reported in this supplement earlier in May, the Government's promotion of "informal adult learning" is placing traditional, non-vocational evening classes under threat. But reading the letter from skills minister David Lammy, you wouldn't know it.

Letters: Cuts hit all learners

Congratulations to Neil Merrick for high-lighting the extremely disturbing shallowness of the Government's approach to lifelong learning ("Adult education fights for its life", EDUCATION & CAREERS, 1 May). There are, however, broader contexts than just cost-cutting which need stressing.

'This new power to validate their own degrees will give colleges more flexibility'

A message from Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges

Adult education fights for its life

Tutors and students are worried that a government consultation may be a fig-leaf for cuts, says Neil Merrick

Mixed feelings over LSC's demise

In two years, the Learning and Skills Council will go. Some colleges are missing it already

Sue Dutton: 'We believe the Government should do more to help students with transport'

It's hard to get an education if your college or school is miles away and you can't afford to take a bus, pay the train fare or fill up your car. While councils have a statutory duty to provide home-to-college (or school) transport for 16- to 18-year-olds, in some areas the provision is patchy. In funding transport, some local authorities simply assume that the closest place of study is the right one, regardless of the course; student choice comes second to budgets. Research shows that young people are often frustrated by the limitations of public transport and there is a high demand to learn to drive, particularly in rural areas – more than 170,000 teenagers pass their driving test aged 17.

Education Show: The teachers' turn to look and listen

The Education Show gave visitors a chance to pick up tips and see the future of learning.

The FE sector is creating landmarks for learning

Although it has been open for 18 months, some students still receive a shock when they step inside the Lifestyle Academy at Newcastle College. In addition to a lecture theatre, other teaching areas and a resource centre, the three-storey building includes two restaurants, a gym, hair salon and spa – all open to the public.

Hilary Steedman: A brave new world for apprenticeships

Not long ago I was seated next to the Swiss ambassador at an LSE function. He had kindly looked up my research interest – apprenticeship – on my web page. "My son has just completed an apprenticeship," he confided. I wasn't surprised. Over half of all young people in Switzerland go through an apprenticeship, and a placement with a blue chip company is highly sought-after. Apprenticeship in Switzerland leads to higher earnings, better employment chances and, for some, to a university place. One of this country's best-kept secrets is that the same is true for England.

Sue Dutton: Our four million students should be thrown into the dragons' den

Colleges are dragons' dens. This is not a slur on the students or staff, or a reference to the canteen curry; I'm referring, of course, to the collegiate spirit of enterprise and the TV show.

Education Quandary: 'Why do you have to have a qualification to teach adults?

'Why do you have to have a qualification to teach adults? Won't this simply deter people from sharing their skills?'

They can assist lower-income students but are adult learning grants enough?

When Erica Hurer-Mackay enrolled on a higher education access course at Bedford College last September, she was advised to apply for an adult learning grant (ALG), that would entitle her to £30 a week. As a single parent with three children under 16 (pictured, right), she was eligible, and found it covered her travel costs and meant she needn't work. "Thirty pounds can make a difference if you're on a budget," she says.

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