Research and analysis

English and maths provision for adult learners: benefits

Explores the skills gained and employment and social outcomes by adult basic skills learners. BIS research paper number 129.



This exploratory research looked at whether we could measure skills gained in learning on English and maths courses, and what factors lead to better outcomes. It also looked at whether learners experienced any economic and social benefits, such as

  • improved employment opportunities
  • increases in pay
  • improvements in wellbeing
  • greater involvement in their children’s education

Based on 1000 English and maths adult learners, the study found significant improvements in wellbeing. Parents reported an increased engagement in their children’s education, helping with their homework or reading to or with them more often.

This study assessed skills gains in 2 parts:

  • a survey of adult learners taking part in basic literacy and/or numeracy courses, undertaken in two waves to track changes over time
  • qualitative research with nearly 30 learners to understand how they used their literacy and numeracy skills outside the classroom
Published 8 October 2013