WE OFFER AN ARTS AND LEISURE BASED CURRICULUM FOR STUDENTS OF ALL AGES
Aims & Objectives
The aim is to provide quality tuition based on the expressed needs of students. This has emerged as a liberal arts leisure themed curriculum unlike local authority programmes which have become more qualification orientated and more focused on the needs of younger students. The project is run by local volunteers with classes led by professional lecturers and teachers. O&A aims to keep its fees, especially for those on benefits, affordable.
A History of O&A
Manchester City Council was forced to close two large adult education centres and cut back on classes elsewhere for financial reasons. This meant widespread closures of adult leisure classes in Manchester: many adults were no longer able to attend classes they had enjoyed for years and an important social and educational resource was lost. In this climate of budget cutbacks and closure Fallowfield Forum formed in 1990. The Forum brought together concerned bodies such as Community Centres, Education, Social and Youth workers and churches. Out of this initiative a network of contacts and information was developed which eventually led to a number of active members, including a retired lecturer, making contact with WEA officers and Manchester Adult Education Service. With their encouragement a community working party was formed. and this subsequently became the Adult Education Initiative.
Through AEI's work, O&A was launched the following year. The organisation started with 50 students, 6 tutors holding 7 classes. Currently, the numbers look more like this:
- About 300 students per term
- 15 tutors
- 36 classes
- 3 terms with 10 or 12 classes being offered in each term
Having worked under the organisational umbrella of Union Chapel (Baptist) for 20 years, the mutual decision was reached that, for Charity Commission purposes, O&A should become a separate entity. Close links with the church remain.