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Section 3 Regional Supplement for Southern


Foreword from the Regional Chair – Lindsay Pearson I would like to welcome you to the new Southern Region supplement of the national Branch Handbook. Throughout my long experience of Branch work, whether as publicity officer, treasurer or secretary I have always sought information from many sources including various iterations of Branch Handbooks. The WEA has reviewed and updated its Handbook to show how Branches can operate rather than listing a formal set of rules. This section is specific to Southern Region. In this way we hope that the new Handbook will be more readable than earlier versions but by using features such as the Frequently Asked Questions section provide answers to those matters that sometimes trouble us in Branch businesses. I hope that you will find the new Handbook a useful and accessible tool. If you have any suggestions additional information to be included in future, please get in touch with your local organiser.


Southern Region…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..4 Regional Governance……………………………………………………………………………………………………………6 Regional Staff………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..8 Appendix I (Southern Region Branch list) …………………………………………………………………………..19 Appendix II (Funding the WEA, frequently asked questions)……………………………………………..20 Appendix III (Fees 2012/13)……………………………………………………………………………………………….22 Appendix IV (Branch Reserve Policy)…………………………………………………………………………………...23



Southern Region
WEA Southern Region covers Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, Surrey, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, East and West Sussex and Kent.

Southern Region Branches
Branch education provision is almost entirely cultural studies, sometimes referred to as humanities or liberal studies. As in all the WEA’s regions, branch members in Southern Region do much of the groundwork in identifying suitable course subjects, selecting tutors, arranging local publicity and venues, supporting the tutor in the classroom and collecting fees. Volunteer activity was estimated to benefit the Association by £2million in a recent yearend report. The work of volunteer representatives is important to the on-going work of Southern Region, and is recognised nationally by the Skills Funding Agency (our major source of income) as a valuable activity; it is also one of the Association’s distinguishing features.


All WEA branches are required to comply with the Association’s Governing Documents and the Regional Statement of Representation. Branch officers and volunteers are encouraged to take the time to read through these documents, particularly the sections relating to the running of a branch. The Association’s Governing Document, Memorandum and Articles of Association and Regulations can be found on the WEA website at We are currently in the process of updating our Statement of Representation. We are still working to the existing Statement of Representation until any proposed amendments are agreed by the WEA Trustees. This is available on the Southern Region website.

Regional Funding
The WEA is supported by the Government through funding from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), in the form of a negotiated contract with clear output volumes and associated income. Here is a list of funding streams for the WEA Southern Region, of which the Skills Funding Agency is the main source.         SFA national contract Fee Income – Branches, partners Local Authority Contracts – eg. Slough Borough Council East Surrey Contract Projects – for example East Sussex PCT funding Legacies: Adler legacy, Kay Smith legacy, Sam Butterworth bequest Capital Grants eg. Externally - funded ILT equipment in the Omega Centre Room lettings at the Omega Centre

The Region’s expenditure can be set out in these categories:      Association costs - Management; Governance; Insurance etc Course Costs - Teaching Staff Costs; Learner Support Costs; Accreditation (Exam) costs; Materials; Room hire Regional Staff Costs - Salaries; Expenses; Recruitment; Training and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Regional Office Costs - Accommodation; Maintenance; Health and Safety; Communication; Stationery and Office Equipment General Costs - Publicity; Meeting and Volunteer Costs

Attached as Appendix II is a list of frequently asked questions and answers on issues including funding, targets, fees, course numbers and is well worth reading.

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Southern Region volunteer/governance structure and how it links to Association governance
The structure of the volunteer participation including governance of the Region is set out below including how the Region fits into the Association governance. WEA Association Trustees

WEA Association Committee

Strategy & Finance Committee

WEA Southern Regional Committee

Education Committee

Area County Meetings

Branch Committee

WEA Branch Members

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Regional Links to National Governance One member of the Southern Region Committee has the remit to represent the Southern Region on the Association Committee and to report back on AC discussions and the work of the AC. This representative is also expected to inform the AC of matters relating to the Southern Region. The Region’s representative on Association Committee is agreed by the Region’s Annual General Meeting in the autumn each year. Members of the Association Committee also sit on other national committees and working groups according to their interests and skills. These committees and working groups involve members in ensuring that the WEA strategic plan is implemented.
‘I really enjoy my role as AC

Jenny Adshead AC Representative

representative. It has given me the opportunity to meet people from other Regions and a broader perspective of how the WEA works nationally’.

A list of the Association Committee members can be found at

Regional Committee The formal constitution of the Regional Committee consists of:  the Regional Officers - Chair - two Vice-Chairs - Treasurer  up to eight Branch representatives from across the Region (no more than 3 per County)  representation from a membership organisation  three other positions open to learners, volunteer education advisers, tutors or representatives of a partner organisation.  Up to 2 other co-opted members  The AC representative being a volunteer member but not officer of the Committee  The Education Director (non-voting)  The Regional Education Manager (non-voting)  Up to 2 members of staff (non-voting) The Regional Committee is elected each year at the Regional Annual General Meeting (AGM) which usually takes place in November. Before the AGM, the Region writes to all Branches asking for nominations to the Regional Committee including for the positions of Regional Officers and AC representative. For a list
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of the current Regional Committee members, please visit the Southern Region website Regional Committee meets approximately four times a year and has responsibility for  financial and performance monitoring;  debating and agreeing the Region’s strategic direction,  reviewing activities of the Regional Management Team and representing all target learner groups. Regional Strategy and Finance Committee The Strategy and Finance Committee is made up of the Regional Officers with delegated responsibility from the Regional Committee. This Committee meets approximately eight times a year and undertakes  detailed review of the Regional budget  monitoring of cash-flow,  reviews of performance monitoring against targets, learner achievement  other issues that require discussion and recommendation to the Regional Committee. Regional Education Committee The Educational Sub Committee meets three times per year and has delegated powers from Regional Committee to  Advise on educational policy  Monitor quality and educational performance  Review training needs of tutors and members  Monitor regional equality and diversity compliance and action plans It is made up of at least three members of Regional Committee and nominated representatives from Area/County meetings. Area/County meetings These meetings are usually convened three times per year by the local Organiser and may cover one or more counties. They are also attended by the Regional Education Manager and a member of Regional Committee, where possible. They provide a conduit for information between local branches and the region and an opportunity to discuss issues of local, regional and national importance. Each County meeting may also nominate representatives to the Regional Committee and the Educational Sub Committee. The emphasis is on open and informal discussion. Branch Committees The Branch committee is responsible for the day to day running of the branch. With the support of the Organisers they plan the courses they wish to run in accordance with the target allocated by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). Branches are able to and encouraged to consider other opportunities for a local education offer that operates in a more flexible way outside the SFA programme. They publicise courses, recruit learners and deal with the administration of courses locally, liaise with tutors and generally support the running of provision within the branch. Branch committees are asked to nominate members to the Regional Committee for election at the Annual
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General Meeting (AGM). Branches representatives are also invited to attend the regional Annual General Meeting. The branch may also send a representative to the Biennial National Conference. Attendance at the conference gives branches the opportunity to participate directly in WEA decision making at the highest level. Branches may also send motions for debate at Conference.

A list of the Regional staff team is available on the staff pages of the Southern Region Branches are encouraged to email or phone the cultural studies team in the support centre with any queries and if a member of the team cannot help they will forward the query to the most appropriate member of staff. Email address is; phone 02634 298600 and ask for the cultural studies team. Education Director The Education Director has overall responsibility for the Region’s educational and administrative functions and all staff, including the Cross Regional Support Centre which is explained further down in this section. The Education Director liaises on a regular basis with the Regional officers on the Strategy and Finance Committee and bi-monthly with the Regional Committee. The Education Director is also part of the Senior Management Team (SMT). It is at SMT level that discussions take place and decisions are made in relation to allocation of the SFA budget to the Regions and the setting of related course and learner targets that each Region must work to. Regional Education Manager The Regional Education Manager manages all educational staff and the educational offer including developing new work and external contracts outside the SFA contract. Education Manager This is a 0.5 role in Southern Region. The Education manager has responsibility for quality processes including the observation of teaching and learning. WEA Organisers The Organisers manage a significant area of provision and two Organisers have responsibility for branch provision across the region. Part of the Organiser role is the management of the tutor base including recruiting, training, and supporting part-time Tutors, in order that Branches can run courses of the highest quality. For the Branch programme, Lead Tutors locally manage groups of sessional tutors. Lead Tutors are appointed on a sessional basis. Details of the Lead Tutors are contained within Appendix I. When it comes to finding new Tutors, Branches can be very helpful in identifying people in their own communities, but Organisers have the final responsibility for appointing them (or not). New Tutors are required to undergo
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formal WEA recruitment procedures, if teaching SFA funded courses. Finance Team The regional finance team is made up of the Finance Strategy & Support Manager, the Regional Accountant and the Finance Assistant. The Regional Accountant liaises with Branches on issues such as Branch returns and reserves. The finance team are always willing to help any branches who need advice or support with a financial issue.

Cross Regional Support Centre The Cross Regional Support Centre is located in Rochester and provides administration support to both Southern and London Regions. A team of administrators led by Administration Manager, perform a range of tasks including all administration related to the running of provision. The staff in the support centre are in three teams. Two of the teams directly relevant to the Branches are:  the Cultural Studies and Volunteer support team  the Tutor Support Team Both teams are available to help with any query a branch may have.

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The Southern Region Branches running a programme in 2012-13
Abingdon Amersham Andover and District Ashford and Wye Banbury Banstead and Reigate Basingstoke Beaconsfield Bexhill Billingshurst Bognor Regis Brighton & Hove Burford Canterbury Caterham Chalfont St Peters & Gerrards Cross Chesham Chichester Crowborough Dorking Epsom & Ewell Esher Faversham Fetcham and Bookham Folkestone Great Missenden, Prestwood & Wendover Guilford Hastings & St Leonards Havant Henfield Henley Herne Bay Horley Horsham & Crawley Isle of Wight Ivinghoe Lewes Liphook Lymington and New Milton Maidenhead Marlow Medway and Gravesend Milton Keynes Oxford Petersfield Petham Polegate Reading Ringwood Robertsbridge Rye Sevenoaks Shrivenham Sittingbourne Slough Sonning Common Southampton Steyning Tadley Tenterden Tonbridge Tunbridge Wells Wallingford Walton & Weybridge West Bucks Villages Whitstable Winchester Windsor Wingham with Littlebourne & Bridge Wingrave Woking Wokingham & District Worthing

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Appendix II FUNDING THE WEA Frequently Asked Questions

How is the WEA Funded? From a range of sources including the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), learner fees, contracts, legacies and fundraising. Our single biggest funder is the SFA. The WEA has been extremely fortunate in maintaining the level of Skills Funding Agency funding in recent years, despite the difficult financial situation. This is because the Skills Funding Agency recognises the value of the work that the WEA undertakes. How is the funding worked out? Annual funding is agreed through negotiation with the Skills Funding Agency. The Skills Funding Agency requires the WEA to offer a combination of non-accredited provision and accredited courses which lead to qualifications, either Skills for Life of on the national Qualifications and Credit Framework. Most of the WEA’s funding is for non-accredited provision. In order to continue to receive funding we have to achieve our delivery targets and good success rates (which include retention and achievement). Currently we are being asked to deliver a similar mix of provision as in previous years. Within the WEA, targets are given to each region and an allocation towards the running costs. Open and targeted programmes: WEA has ‘open’ programmes – in Southern Region these are delivered predominantly through local branches. We also deliver provision developed for specific groups of learners, normally those in deprived communities or with particular needs. In Southern Region approximately 60% of the funding we receive is directed at provision in areas of deprivation. What about fees? The SFA assume that most learners will contribute a proportion of the cost of their learning. The SFA will meet the cost for those on specified benefits and on English and Maths courses. Will fees go up again? That is a decision made by Regional Committee. Costs will go up and the SFA funding has not increased in line with inflation. We are working to keep fees as low as possible to encourage as many students as possible to participate. Is there a minimum course length? Courses under 9 hours do not count for SFA funding even if the learner attends another course. What about course size? The SFA assumes an average of 15+/- enrolments per course. The majority of WEA Southern courses recruit between 12-16 learners. Is the WEA the same everywhere? No, each Region is different. Some have a large proportion of liberal education in branches and generate more fee income from learners, and others have large Skills for Life or community programmes and generate more SFA funding. WEA is working towards a common fee structure that meets all the variables. What about other providers? Every provider is different. Some Local Authorities subsidise courses, although this is now unusual due to the cuts in local government funding. The provision of adult learning is not a statutory duty and therefore most local authorities now only spend the funding they receive from the Skills Funding Agency specifically for adult learning. Does every enrolled learner contribute to the income from the SFA? In order to claim funding:  learners need to make a minimum number of attendances, depending on the course length.  We must demonstrate that learning has taken place. A combination of the completed enrolment form for all learners, the course registers and the individual learning plans help to provide evidence for this.
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What if we do not hit our targets? Our contract and income will be reduced. Southern Region needs to ensure we meet our targets each year, while being careful to keep within our budget. It is therefore really important to maximise as far as possible the number of people in each class.

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Appendix III Planning and Development of the Branch Programme (2012/13) Fee setting is driven by our funder’s expectations but it is also intended to provide Branches with the scope to maintain and expand their programmes. 1 Skills Funding Agency (SFA) Programme

We will only include Branch courses of 20 hours and above in provision under the national contract. a. As usual these courses will be subject to a fixed student fee set by Regional Committee and the branch will retain 10% of the fee income for local administration. The region will continue to cover the cost of accommodation. b. Courses will be subject to the full WEA quality framework. c. In exceptional circumstances there will be scope for branches to plan shorter courses within the SFA funding mechanism if a sound educational case, such as a high level of fee remitted learners, is made via the course organiser. 2012/13 fee: £3.95 per hour or £79.00 for a 20 hour course 2 Branch Initiative Courses

We will continue to support courses funded through a fixed hourly rate return to the region. This continues for courses of 9 to 19 hours as well as including courses of less than 9 hours (e.g. Day schools, workshops, taster courses) and courses 80% of which consist of outside visits (e.g. Field studies; Garden Visits, Gallery/Museum visits etc)  These courses will be subject to a fixed hourly rate to be returned to Region by the Branch. The Branch will cover all accommodation costs.  Branches can cross-subsidise these courses from income gained over a two year period from other similar activities or local grants.  Branches set their own learner fees but not at a figure lower than that of SFAsubsidised courses.  Courses between 9 and 19 hours offer the same fee remission as SFA-funded courses.  Courses of less than 9 hours do not require an enrolment form and tutors need not be registered with the Institute for Learning. A short evaluation form is used. No fee remission is available unless funded by the Branch itself.  The fee has been set at a minimum level for 2012/13 to encourage branches to plan a similar sized programme and mix of courses to the current year. 2012/13 return to Region: £50 per taught hour

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Appendix IV

WEA Southern Region Branch Reserves Policy 2011 The Committee noted that Branches need to maintain a degree of independent financial viability and also require funds to forward-fund their programme (for instance to cover such matters as publicity or prepaid accommodation costs or the purchase of new ICT to support teaching). 1. There shall be no minimum level of accumulated funds (reserves) that a Branch should retain 2. Branches should:  purchase any essential teaching/associated equipment (from all income);  support local widening participation activities from income accumulated over no more than two years (arising from non-ILR classes or local fundraising initiatives),  retain 10% of total ILR fees (after accommodation costs have been deducted) before completing the end of year return 3. Branches would retain a maximum £2000 reserve after the factors in 2. above have been taken into account. 4. Small local donations/gifts/bequests intended for support of Branch functions alone shall be excluded from the above calculations, but should be disclosed on the end of year return. (If Branches have any doubts on this particular matter then advice should be sought via the relevant Organiser) 5. At the start of each academic year, Branches will be invoiced for surplus accumulated funds generated the previous academic year. 6. The Regional Committee may find the need to call for further contributions from Branch Reserves should educational development factors so dictate. No such calls will leave individual Branches without adequate day to day operating finds. February 2011

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