At last night’s Education Meeting a Petition was presented with over 1000 signatures asking the Council to keep the Widmore Adult Education Centre open as a facility for adult education.
The Education Committee does not make that decision but agreed the Petition should be presented to the Executive Committee for decision.
The AE budget at the end of the 2014/15 financial year had a budgeted overspend of £246k.
The Adult Education Service underwent an Ofsted inspection in March 2015 which highlighted the local authority’s failure to address that overspend. Ofsted also criticised the volume of Community learning grant that is used to support mainstream non-accredited courses. In their view the LA should use a greater percentage of the grant to support disadvantaged local communities and disengaged adults.
Therefore the LA proposal aims to make the required efficiency savings by restructuring the adult education service so that its primary focus is on adults and communities of the greatest identified need within the borough. Currently these areas are identified as Penge, Anerley, Crystal Palace, Cray Valley East and West and Mottingham.
In order to achieve this, the Council would retain and expand the curriculum offer at the Kentwood Centre in Penge and the Poverest Centre in Orpington. These two sites are best placed to serve the areas in most need as identified above. Closure of the Widmore site would result in savings in the region of £173k.
LBB produced a comprehensive report which covered many of the questions and arguments around this proposal.
A link is attached to the full report. Full Report
We endorsed the proposal to proceed with the reorganisation of the Adult Education Service and will continue to work with the LA to retain/relocate as many classes as possible.