Online lessons keep adult learners supported in lockdown

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Adult learners in Norfolk have been able to continue their courses, online, despite lockdown – boosting their wellbeing and easing their isolation.

Within two weeks of lockdown starting, Norfolk County Council’s Adult Learning service ensured that all its 1,257 current learners were moved onto online classes. There are now 2,935 people learning online.

Norfolk County Council is one of a handful of councils which has kept its adult learning service fully operational during lockdown and other local authorities have been in touch to see how it achieved this.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “We have supported people’s learning and wellbeing during lockdown, thanks to a swift move to online services. I pay tribute to the Head of Adult Learning, Denise Saadvandi and her team for achieving this, in difficult circumstances.

“This just shows what can be achieved and how, by improving the digital skills of people across Norfolk, we have been able to enrich their skills and wellbeing, through adult learning.”

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is committed to the development of skills across Norfolk and Suffolk so people have the skills that the region needs, and businesses can grow.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise partnership, said: “Adult education is more focused than ever on the needs of our economy and it is essential people continue to have the opportunity to learn and develop news skills online.

“As well as increasing people’s employability and teaching the skills required by our growing sectors, the digital provision of these courses has improved wellbeing and provided a sense of connection during a period of isolation.”

During lockdown, the adult learning service has also:

  • Supported 126 apprentices to continue learning online
  • Supported people on GCSE and functional skills courses, with grades being submitted for approval to the awarding bodies for 99 adult GCSE learners and 430 functional skills learners.
  • Delivered “creation in isolation” online courses and held virtual coffee mornings, so people remain socially connected.


A number of learners have expressed their appreciation of the service and, in particular, learners who live in rural areas have welcomed the benefits of being able to learn from home.

Amanda Brown (pictured) has fitted her studies around being a key worker and volunteering in her local community group, where she helps people with their shopping and prescriptions.

Online learning has not only helped her to keep achieving in the period of lockdown, but has given some much needed normality, says Amanda. “It’s amazing how quickly things have changed in learning and to adapting to cope with everything really. It gives you a sense of normality as well, you’ve got things to do at a regular time. You know we are all in the same position and it does make a difference, like keeping in touch with your regular groups.”

Adult Learning will continue to offer a range of online courses that provide people with new knowledge and skills, as well as the opportunity to stay connected and build their confidence as they take that next step in their lives.

For further details about adult learning, click here 

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