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Whatever happened to our vision of a learning society: The Learning Age 20

16th Feb 2018

Whatever happened to our vision of a learning society: The Learning Age 20 years on

University of Wolverhampton Science Park

16 February 2018 10.00am-4.00pm

Sponsored by Learning and Work Institute, Education and Training Foundation, HOLEX, and the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning


Building on the work of Kennedy, Tomlinson and Dearing, David Blunkett’s Preface to The Learning Age was the high water mark of lifelong learning policy in England.  20 years after its publication, this conference reviews the initiatives that flowed from it and asks what prospects now for lifelong learning.

Key note speakers, David Blunkett (via video), John Field, Lorna Unwin, Andy Westwood, Tom Schuller, Leisha Fullick and Geoff Layer.


10am Welcome - Geoff Layer, Vice Chancellor University of Wolverhampton

10.10 Learning Age to the LSC? What worked and what didn’t ? – a video interview with David Blunkett (Alan Tuckett)

10.25 to 11.15 Keynote: Too many bright ideas to make a difference? John Field, Respondents: Lorna Unwin,    Andy Westwood.

11.15 – 11.40 coffee

11.40- 12.40 Workshops: Each will reflect on the initiatives promoted in The Learning Age and the roll out of its policy perspectives, and consider their relevance for current lifelong learning policy:

a) Participation and the benefits of learning  - (Fiona Aldridge , Tom Schuller)

b) Quality,equality  and inclusion (Peter Lavender, Jan Eldred, )

c) Technological innovation – UFI, e-university, (Helen Milner(tbc), John Traxler)

d) Innovation, innovation, innovation – ILAs, NHSU, Learning cities (Alastair Thomson(tbc) , Ian Nash)

12.40 to 1.120 Lunch

1.20-2.20 Workshops:

a) Workplace learning and the impact of unionlearn (Tom Wilson, Lorna Unwin)

b) Adults in and into higher education (Liz Marr, Tom Sperlinger)

c) Further education colleges and the FE sector (Julian Gravatt (tbc), Mick Fletcher(tbc))

d) Community learning (Martin Yarnit, Jo Cain)

2.20 Pause

2.30 – 3.15 Parallel panels:

a) Skills for Life – a jewel in the crown or a flash in the pan? Susan Pember, Lyn Tett, Vicky  Duckworth,  chair Mary Mahoney

b) Differential developments in the UK , Paul Nolan, Jim Gallagher, Rob Humphreys. Chair: Peter Lavender

3.15 -4.00 Does The Learning Age vision mean anything for today? Tom Schuller, Leisha Fullick(tbc), Geoff Layer – chair: Alan Tuckett

4.00 Close

Fee: £100 but limited bursaries available for people who cannot afford the fee.

For more details contact


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