English, maths and ESOL Conference

Adult basic skills: building back better | Wednesday 4 November 2020

| 10.00am – 12.45pm

Programme and resources

Catch up with the conference

Meet two 2020 Festival of Learning learner award ambassadors Hannah Wilkins and Karen Brooks. Hear our panellists discuss the challenge of supporting nine million adults in the UK who are held back by low basic skills. Why should we focus on adult basic skills and can doing this really enhance the employment and skills policy response to the pandemic?

Ministerial address

Gillian Keegan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills

Breakout session recordings

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted inequalities in health, quality of work and labour market opportunities for individuals, families and communities. Basic skills levels are key in this. People have relied on literacy, numeracy, language and basic digital skills to access essential services online, stay connected, seek health advice or work from home. But those who don’t have the opportunity, the means or the skills to do this have been disadvantaged.

Around nine million adults in the UK are held back by low basic skills. Better basic skills are vital to our national response to coronavirus, supporting a skills-led recovery and building back better to create a more inclusive and fairer society.

This year’s conference highlighted how a focus on adult basic skills can enhance the employment and skills policy response to the pandemic. As providers experiment with new ways of engaging learners and offering provision online, the conference will consider what the ‘new normal’ means for adult learners, in terms of quality and access to provision.

We explored what we know, and don’t know, about what works in adult basic skills, to help identify what more needs to be done.

Participants benefit from opportunities to

  • Learn about the latest developments in policy. Vote on your top of the policies. What should investment in adult basic skills and ESOL provision look like and which initiatives will support more adults to take up basic skills learning?
  • Find out about new resources to support delivery. How are providers and practitioners adapting to learning in the ‘new normal’ and ensure that adult basic skills provision remain accessible and inclusive?
  • Hear about effective practice from the sector. Gain valuable insights into recent research and evaluation within the sector and identify the kinds of research you would like to see happening to support the sector.

Our partners

  • UCL_IOE logo
  • UCU
  • RaPAL