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About community learning

We provide accessible, high quality learning opportunities for eligible adults to improve their skills and qualifications to benefit themselves, their families, local businesses and the community.

What we offer

If you are aged 19 or over and have few or no formal qualifications, you could be eligible to take free part-time courses. For further details please see our Community learning prospectus 2018/19.

Our courses take place in accessible local venues, such as libraries, community halls, children’s centres and schools.

Ask about Family Learning – a great way to brush up your skills and help your kids.

View courses starting soon to find out more about our courses beginning in September 2018.

Learner eligibility – general

Free courses are open to people aged 19+ with qualifications below Level 2 who have been resident in the UK for at least three years, OR who are:

  • EU citizens
  • from an EEA member country
  • refugees or asylum seekers

Some others are also eligible. Contact us for further advice.

Learner eligibility – ESOL and accredited employability courses

Community learning introduced payments for some learners enrolling on ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) and accredited employability courses across South Gloucestershire from September 2016. Courses are free for learners on the following work-related benefits*:

  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment Support Allowance (in the Work-related Activity Group)
  • Universal Credit
  • Council Tax Benefit (not including the 25% single occupancy discount)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Asylum Seeker Allowance

*or if you are the unwaged partner of someone receiving any of the above.

Learners attending these courses, who don’t qualify for a free course according to the criteria above, must pay a fee.

Funding and regulation

Our work is funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency and regulated by Ofsted. We work within the Community Learning West consortium, along with Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council.

The consortium manages performance to ensure the best outcomes for learners. There is a rigorous quality regime that includes production of an annual self-assessment report and quality improvement plan.

Commissioned programme

The South Gloucestershire team also works in partnership with a variety of third sector partner organisations to provide additional local learning opportunities.

Networking and partnerships

We work with a wide variety of internal and external partners, including libraries, schools, children’s centres, housing associations and businesses.

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