September 7, 2017
Adult education classes in Burnham put on hold amid cash shortfall

Hundreds of people across Somerset, including the Burnham-On-Sea area, who signed up for adult education courses have received letters informing them their courses have been postponed.

Course provider Somerset Skills and Learning (SS&L) is facing a funding gap of nearly £3m following cuts in government money.

The organisation, which has a centre in Burnham's Princess Street, employs about 200 people across Somerset, and provides courses to 10,000 people. It says it is trying to "turn things around".

SS&L, formerly known as Somerset Skills and Learning, was awarded £111,000 by the government to last from November to July next year. Typically it receives about £3m for the period, its director of curriculum and business development, Kathryn Baker said.

Previously part of Somerset County Council, the company became a separate social enterprise in August 2015. The not-for-profit company was set up and run by the staff who were part of the council.

Its website currently offers 252 courses, however a statement has been posted about the cutbacks, stating: "Due to government funding cuts we are not accepting enrolments for leisure and interest courses at this time. Our Apprenticeship & Traineeship programs and GCSE Maths & English are still running as usual. We hope to open our other courses again soon."

SS&L director Kathryn Baker said: "Courses are being postponed while we try to turn things around."

It offers a range of training courses at 10 centres across the county, including in Burnham-On-Sea, from apprenticeships to adult education courses.

The Department for Education has yet to comment.


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