You are on page 1of 2

By Rachel Hovenden EDUCATION Councillors have slammed cuts to adult education worth more than £1million, which will

force three Sheffield centres to close. The government cut £1.2m from Sheffield College’s adult learning budget for the next academic year, equivalent to a 10% reduction. It means that the Bannerdale, Walkley and Mount Pleasant centres, which have almost 1400 students between them, will stop their courses from September. Courses likely to be affected are English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), European languages, crafts, floristry, English literature and maths. Salma Mohammed, 28, attends the English language classes at the Mount Pleasant Centre on Sharrow Lane. She moved to England from Pakistan eight years ago and has two children aged seven and five. She said she wants to be a beautician but needs to improve her English so she can talk to clients. “It’s a disaster. I can’t sleep at night because I am so worried. I don’t want these classes to stop because I need to improve my English so I can get a job. I need to take my children to and from school before and after the classes. If I have to travel further I will have to give up,” Miss Mohammed, of Glover Road, added. And Muiugeta Yimesgan, 21, came to England six months ago from Eritrea. Mr Yimesgan, of London Road, said: “I am in shock. I can’t afford the bus fare to go to another college. When I go to the job centre they tell me I must improve my English. I would take any job. I don’t want to be on benefits my whole life. Before they announced the closures my future was bright. Now I feel like everything has gone very dark.” Jason Pepper, Executive Director of Finance and Resources for Sheffield College, said they are still discussing which courses will be cut. “We plan to relocate college staff and some courses to Hillsborough College and Sheffield City College. We don’t expect any compulsory redundancies,” he said. And Mary Hampshire, spokeswoman for Sheffield College said: “The college has lobbied extensively to protect the funding it receives for adult learners, but all further education colleges in England are facing similar or even greater cuts.” During the council’s final meeting before the election, council leader Paul Scriven, said: “Sheffield college are committed to adult education, but they have been forced into making this decision. This is a real disgrace. In an economic downturn people need to be able to gain the skills and education they need to improve their situation.” MF

And Councillor Jillian Creasy, for Sheffield Central, said: “For many people, especially women with young children, those with little English and those on low incomes, provision of adult education in their local area is vitally important to increase accessibility and uptake. Retracting services into a central site or sites will effectively exclude them.” But Councillor Leigh Bramall, Labour’s education spokesman, accused the Liberal Democrat council of using adult education as a “political football.” He said they had failed to confirm any figures for funding adult education, and this had led to uncertainty. ENDS