Last month, a delegation of our British member the Free Churches Group and members of Further Education (FE) Working Group met to take the FE work on to the next steps.

Further Education provides education and training for some 3 million learners in the United Kingdom each year. The majority of the provision is locally based in colleges and adult education centres with learners drawn from all age groups.

The Free Church voice on education finds expression through the Free Church Education Committee (FCEC) whose members all have experience and an active interest in education. The FCEC is committed to upholding respect for religious faith, of whatever creed, and the right of an individual to hold that faith, whilst recognising its own rootedness in God. The Free Churches Group uses its voice to critique present values; to sensitise the denominations; to lobby and inform the government; and to support individuals involved in education, whether as professionals or volunteers. It sees its purpose as seeking to clarify the distinctiveness of the nonconformist Christian voice in education and to articulate its message with conviction and confidence.

St Martin’s United Reformed Church in South Oxhey, London is a successful example of partnership between FE and our member.

Over the last 2 years, the church has been used for training courses on weekdays and evenings by the Community Learning Partnership (CLP), an adult education charity funded by Hertfordshire Adult and Community Learning.

The courses, including English and family maths, aim to help local people overcome barriers to learning by engaging them on innovative projects, giving them the skills, confidence, and opportunities that will empower them to lead more fulfilling lives.

To know more about the progress of the Free Church Education Committee, click on our member’s website.