Rita and Gerald

Adult Learning in Britain Today

April 2015
More details
  • Publisher
    Trentham Books
  • Published
    20th April 2015
  • ISBN 9781858566245
  • Language English
  • Pages 172 pp.
  • Size 6.125" x 9.5"

Rita and Gerald traces the history of adult learning in the UK from the mid-19th century to the present. Both a celebration and a defence of adult education, it shows how adult education has adapted to change over 200 years and why the sector is today needed more than ever.

Built around the educational stories of 150 students in six premier institutions who are studying programs ranging from entry-level English to post-graduate degrees, the book combines a theoretical perspective with insight into human aspirations. We read how a British soldier moved past the horror of war-torn Bosnia through studying Creative Writing at Ruskin College; how a young woman who has cerebral palsy found a haven for learning at the Mary Ward Centre; how sisters who escaped persecution in Libya came to Camden’s Working Men’s College to study English and Child Care.

It is essential reading for adult students, curriculum planners, policy makers, professional educators, and undergraduate and post-graduate students of history and philosophy of education, and community learning.

"Philip Stevens has produced an engrossing and engaging account of adult higher learning in Britain, which testifies to its power to change lives. His book is at once a survey of the variety available and evidence of the continuing importance of these opportunities both for individuals and for UK society as a whole."

Lesley Smith, Professor of Medieval Intellectual History, Harris Manchester College - , University of Oxford

Preface by Fred Inglis
1. Introducing a noble tradition
2. Lowering voices and raising minds
3. A Sign of things to come
4. Proud to be a ransacker
5. A higher calling
6. All thanks to the OU
7. Endnote

Philip Stevens

Philip Stevens was a fireman before returning to education as a mature student in the 1970s. Since then he has had a long career in adult education, where over many years he gathered the stories of learning that form the backbone of this book.