Jobs fears after adult education funding is paused

Publication Date29 April 2021
Date29 April 2021
Publication titleEvening Gazette
The Local Democracy Reporting Service has learnt that payments to Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland Councils, which provide adult learning services, have been "paused", while the decision by TVCA has also affected other training providers.

There are now concerns from some working in the sector of job losses, along with a reduction in education and training opportunities.

Because of lockdown restrictions adult education centres were closed for large parts of last year, and while some learning was taken online, the drop-out rate among students increased with some unable to access virtual studies.

The adult education budget, which was devolved from central Government to TVCA in 2019, is worth more than £30m a year.

TVCA is responsible for all adult education delivery Duncan contracts, funding and the management for post-19 learners across the Tees Valley, whose studies are organised by local authorities, colleges and private/community sector training companies.

Between them the three local authorities had an agreement with the combined authority to receive more than £3.5m in ring-fenced allocations in the 2020/21 academic year (Hartlepool £785,267; Middlesbrough £1,616,043; Redcar and Cleveland £1,118,524).

As part of their funding agreement adult education providers have to agree delivery plans and follow a performance management framework which specifies expected outputs and outcomes.

They are allowed an under-performance tolerance threshold, which takes into account the capacity of courses, which was raised from 10% to 30% from August 2020 to March this year.

But some providers fell below this during the period in question.

TVCA's website says it "reserves the right to re-profile, reconcile or cease payments immediately" if a provider falls outside performance specifications. It is understood the funding that has been stopped relates to the formal skills funding element and payments which cover what is described as community learning, targeted at hard to engage and vulnerable adults.

Training providers whose payments are stopped can have them...

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