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Adult basic skills development: resources

Here are a range of relevant websites, links and resources relating to adult basic skills development.

1) Basic Skills Agency The Basic Skills Agency is the national development agency for basic skills in England and Wales. The BSA covers literacy, numeracy and English as an Additional Language across all sectors from primary, secondary, FE and adult. Its site carries a number of current research and policy reports, reviews of resources.

2) DfES's read write plus website is intended to be the main source of information and advice on all aspects of implementing Skills for Life.

3) Lifelong Learning: a Government-supported website for the encouragement, promotion and development of lifelong learning, the site carries up-to-date information about current government policies and initiatives as well as a range of publications and links to other relevant sites. One section of the site deals expressly with basic skills development.

4) The National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy (NRDC) was established by the DfES as part of Skills for Life, the national strategy for improving adult literacy and numeracy skills. NRDC is dedicated to conducting research into adult literacy, numeracy, ESOL and ICT. They have an excellent range of reports: see, for example, Adult ESOL pedagogy: a review of research, an annotated bibliography and recommendations for future research. This report reviews research into the learning of English in classroom settings by adult speakers of other languages (ESOL).

5) Inclusion
Inclusion is a free, searchable catalogue of on-line resources that support teaching professionals, parents and carers in meeting individual learning needs, dealing particularly with issues around inclusion and Special Educational Needs.

6) The National Literacy Trust is a charity whose stated aim is 'to make an independent, strategic contribution to the creation of a society in which all can enjoy the skills, confidence and pleasures of literacy to support their educational, economic, social and cultural goals'.The Trust is dedicated to keeping up-to-date with research and to disseminating findings to academics, practitioners and policy-makers.

7) The NIACE website carries information about its publications, campaigns, conferences, promotions and projects. It produces reports such as the Commentary on the
NFER Research Report: Progress in Adult Literacy as well two page summaries of key findings from research, such as the NIACE Adult Participation in Learning Survey 2006.

8) The Network for Workplace Language, Literacy and Numeracy (The Network) is a national, self-funding and not-for-profit organisation, based at Lancaster University.

9) RaPAL is a national organisation, again based at Lancaster University, that focuses on the role of literacy in adult life. They are an independent network of learners, teachers, managers and researchers in adult basic education, who also produce reports such as Whose skills? Whose life?: 'Skills for Life' in the context of informal learning by Julia Clarke.

10) Skill is a UK organisation supporting students in further and higher education with learning difficulties and disabilities. It provides information, support and advocacy services.

11) Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning was established by the DFES in 1999 to investigate the full range of benefits that learning brings both to the individual learner and society as a whole. Their two main objectives are:

To produce and apply models for measuring and analysing the contribution that learning makes to wide ranging social and private goals
To devise and apply improved methods for measuring the value of various forms of learning, such as community-based adult learning, where the outcomes are not necessarily standard ones such as qualifications.
They produce a range of publications in this area, see, for example: Determination and pathways of progression to level 2 qualifications: Evidence from the NCDS and BHPS
(2006) by Ricardo Sabates, Leon Feinstein and Eleni Skaliotis, Wider Benefits of Learning Research Report No. 21.

Other resources include:

12) Bosley, S., El-Sawad, A., Hughes, D., Jackson, C., Watts, A.G. (2001). Guidance and Individual Learning Accounts. Derby: Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby. This paper focuses upon an earlier attempt to develop Individual Learning Accounts as a means to encourage non-traditional learners into learning.

13) Hughes, D. & Sheldon, R. (2000). Adapt and Prosper. CeGS Occasional Paper. Derby: Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby. An examination of an innovative client-centred approach to effect change and develop a learning culture using guidance within the workplace.

14) Carneiro, P., Crawford, C. and Goodman, A. (2006) Which skills matter? LSE CEE Discussion Paper 59. Their work shows that successful education policy cannot neglect the development of non-cognitive skills., as social skills are important determinants of schooling and labour market outcomes, and of a variety of behavioural outcomes, including teenage motherhood, and engagement in illegal activity before the age of 16.

15) A literature review on Adult and Community Learning: What? Why? Who? Where? was produced by George Callaghan, Derek Newton, Emma Wallis, Jonathan Winterton and Ruth Winterton in July, 2001. It contains a section on participation and exclusion (2.2, pp. 9-14), one on information, advice, guidance, outreach and recruitment (3.1, pp. 19-30) and one on improving access (4, pp. 39-64) which discusses strategies to engage learners.

16) Much activity in this field can be traced back to the review of the field of Adult Basic Education, carried out by a consultative group led by Claus Moser. The group reported in 1999, recommending a National Adult Basic Skills Strategy. A summary of the main points from the Moser Report, which can be found at: