Policy paper

Community learning in rural areas

Examines the difficulties faced by adults in rural areas who wish to participate in learning and how that may be enabled or improved.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Community learning in rural areas


Report that examines the provision of, and participation in, community learning in rural areas. It considers the difficulties faced by adults who wish to participate in learning, and how that participation can be enabled and improved.

It aims to:

  • help BIS and Defra develop a joint outline strategy for supporting community learning and widening participation in learning in rural communities
  • inform and support developing community learning policy
  • support Defra policy on enhancing rural communities and show good practice in rural proofing government policy
  • contribute to the impact of the government’s rural statement
  • increase evidence on access to adult learning in rural areas
  • identify and record good practice examples to share and use

Recommendations include:

  • building more partnership working and collaboration
  • better targeted funding and focus
  • developing and supporting providers to deliver learning more creatively

This report was jointly commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and undertaken by NIACE (The National Institute for Adult Continuing Education).

For further information, see:

  • Rural statement 2012, which sets out the government’s support for rural areas
  • New challenges, new chances, which sets out the new aims and objectives for community learning
  • Community Learning Trust (CLT) pilots, who, since August 2012, have been working with communities to plan local provision in cities, towns and rural settings. A report describing the set up of the CLTs and the different approaches used will be published shortly. Additional information can be found via NIACE, who are running the CLT support programme
  • Skills funding statement 2012-15, which states that all BIS unded community learning providers must deliver the new objectives and the approaches piloted by the CLTs from August 2013
Published 12 February 2013