About Our Students

A group of WEA learners

Adult students come to WEA courses with very varied motives and expectations.

What do we know about our students?

There were over 19,000 enrolments in 2012-2013 for more than 1,300 courses across the region.  Statstics for the year show the reach of our provision and the diversity of our students:

  • 60% live in postcodes which indicate deprivation (as defined by the government)
  • 55.9% have a declared disability
  • 37.7% have a declared ethnic minority
  • 60.1% are fee remitted (have free places due to economic circumstances)

The majority of our courses are targeted to attract particular groups of adult students, but we also offer 'open access' courses, that bring together students of different ages, abilities and experience. Most WEA students have other commitments such as family, community or work responsibilities and learning is usually part-time at times to fit in with these activities. Whilst much of the provision is day time, it does also often take place after a day’s work.

Why do students come to WEA courses?

Because each student is different, our tutors will want to know why each one has enrolled on a WEA course. Motives range from simply having an interest in a subject or wanting to develop knowledge/skills for work, to making a cautious first step back into education after a break. This means we must avoid making assumptions and take time to understand what each individual student wants from the experience.

To support tutors in managing these varied aspirations and needs, the WEA has introduced the Recognising and Recording Progress and Achievement (RaRPA) Staged Process. This is a nationally-recognised framework used across adult education. It enables students to manage their learning, track their progress and know what they have achieved by coming on the course.