Vital Inquiry into Adult Literacy and Numeracy needs robust evidence

20 January 2014

NIACE is encouraging all representatives – employers, providers, tutors and learners – from across the learning and skills sector and beyond, to submit written evidence to the Inquiry into Adult Literacy and Numeracy from the BIS Committee by 6 February 2014.

The Inquiry is inviting written submissions of evidence to answer the following questions:

  • What is the Government currently doing to help adults improve their reading, writing and maths skills?
  • How can the Government make sure that adults have the right skills that can help them find a job, which in turn will help the country, and more widely?
  • What are the best ways to help adults learn how to read, write and do maths—through formal education providers or in a different way?

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“The decision by the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee to hold an inquiry into adult literacy and numeracy is evidence of how pressing this issue is.  For the Committee to focus on one area of adult learning – when their remit is so wide – is a heartening endorsement of the importance of adult basic skills.

“One of our major concerns is that the huge numbers of adults with the most to gain from learning the fundamental skills of literacy and numeracy are the very ones who have missed out and are continuing to miss out. This makes them more vulnerable to losing their jobs and being trapped in a low-skills, no-learning cycle of creeping hopelessness. This has lifelong consequences in confidence, self esteem and life chances and it also has a major impact on a sustained economic recovery.

“We do know that there’s lots of really inspiring provision that helps motivate people into learning and helps them transform their lives and those of their families and communities as well. We also know that there are challenges in the funding and regulatory systems which hinder reaching people with the lowest levels of literacy and numeracy. Evidence of this and what can be changed to help is exactly the sort of evidence that the BIS Committee needs to hear about so that their recommendations are informed by best practice and high-quality research. We hope providers and others from across the country will take the time to share their work at a challenging time for the learning and skills sector.”

The committee welcomes submissions of evidence from learners, teachers, employers and others in answer to its questions. Guidance on how to do this can be found here.