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About community learning

Welcome to Community Learning:  Overcoming Barriers, Stretching Minds, Building Skills for the Future.

Our Aims

We want learners:

  • to set goals towards their personal aspirations and recognise and value their achievements
  • to improve skills and gain qualifications in order to access employment or develop career prospects
  • to enjoy opportunities to make new connections and engage with other learners
  • to grow in confidence so that they can engage effectively and contribute to their communities
  • to inspire their families and friends with the pleasure and value of learning
  • to see learning as a positive experience and life long journey, seeking to continually develop and extend their skills, knowledge and understanding
  • to develop positive routines and approaches which transfer to future learning or work

Our Values

  • We believe education makes a difference improving learners’ lives and the lives of their families.
  • We believe everyone should feel welcome and included in our classes.
  • We believe that everyone has something of value to contribute.
  • We believe education is a partnership between tutors and learners built on respect.

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 2019/20.

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 our free* courses starting September 2019 for more information.

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 West of England Combined Authority (WECA) 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.


Thriving at work South Gloucestershire

For free resources, information and support for employers to help support positive mental health and emotional wellbeing in the work place visit Thriving at Work South Gloucestershire.






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