Social Integration: National Adult Education Stakeholder Policy Roundtable

  18/03/2019 10:00   Event ID :14253

Social Integration: National Adult Education Stakeholder Policy Roundtable

Monday 18 March 2019, 09:30-14:00


This event provides an opportunity for policymakers and stakeholders to share and develop perspectives on how the wider adult education sector can most effectively support social integration.


Integrated communities are vital for social cohesion and individual wellbeing.  They are places where people with different values, backgrounds and beliefs live together based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities.  Integration fosters a sense of belonging and interests in common which reduces exclusion and creates conditions where everyone is more likely to thrive.  The UK has a long history of migration, ethnic and cultural diversity and tolerance of different beliefs.  However, as Dame Louise Casey’s independent review into opportunity and integration (2016) starkly revealed, many communities are divided along faith, race and socio-economic lines.  As the UK prepares to leave the European Union at the end of March 2019, and official figures continue to show a disturbing rise in hate crime, it is difficult to avoid the sense that the fissures are deepening and hardening which separate groups and communities into “them” and “us”, ultimately to the detriment of individuals, communities and society as a whole.

In response to these challenges, in March 2018 the government launched its Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper and associated consultation.  The findings were published this month, with an Action Plan for England that aims to underpin new partnerships with civil society to “drive forward work across Government to create socially and economically stronger, more confident and integrated communities.”

The role of learning is promoting social integration has long been recognised, encapsulated in the notion of “learning to live together”.  Current integration policy shows an explicit appreciation of this, in its commitment to better support the development of English language skills for adults through the Integrated Communities English Language Programme, a new ESOL strategy for England, and support to strengthen local delivery of ESOL.  But a learning dimension is implicit in many other aspects of integration policy, from proposals to bring people together to develop actions to improve their local area, to measures to improve labour market access for refugees, to volunteering and mentoring programmes.  There are numerous ways in which learning contributes to social integration, by developing skills, knowledge and understanding which help to break down barriers and build a shared sense of purpose.  It is vital that the potential of learning is fully harnessed in taking forward this key policy agenda.


The evidence and propositions generated through the roundtable will help to inform implementation of the Government’s Integrated Communities Action Plan.

The principal output will be a policy discussion paper summarising the issues, opportunities and evidence identified by participants, and highlighting possible actions for policymakers and other stakeholders.


This is an invitation-only event for national policymakers and organisations involved in the thematic stakeholder networks co-ordinated by L&W on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE).  It will bring the diverse perspectives and collective expertise of group members to bear on the question of how adult education can contribute to more effective policy and practice on social integration.

Places are limited and by invitation only. Click “Book now” to RSVP. If you are interested in this event and have not received an invitation, contact L&W Events for more information.



Draft outline programme

09:30             Arrival

10:00             Chair’s welcome introduction, Joe Dromey, Deputy Director for Research & Development, Learning and Work Institute

10:10              Plenary 1: Integrated Communities Strategy and Action Plan: the implications for adult education

10:40              Plenary 2: Supporting community integration through local service delivery

11:00              Thematic workshops (with refreshments in rooms)

Participants will join one of the following facilitated workshops:

Workshop 1: English language learning for adults

Workshop 2:  Community learning and social integration

Workshop 3:  Integration, employment and the workplace

12:45              Plenary 3: Workshops feedback and discussion and identification of key policy messages

13:20              Chair’s closing comments and next steps

13:30              Networking lunch

14:00              Close