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Adult Learning Services


UCL Institute of Health Equity

Subject Keywords: Education
Topic: Health Inequalities
Health Inequalities
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Report
Region: United Kingdom

This pair of documents, commissioned by Public Health England (PHE), and written by the UCL Institute of Health Equity, address the role of participation in learning as an adult in improving health.

There is evidence that involvement in adult learning has both direct and indirect links with health, for example because it increases employability. There is some evidence that those who are lower down the social gradient benefit most, in health terms, from adult learning.

However, there is a gradient both in participation in adult learning and skill level, whereby the more someone would benefit from adult learning, the less likely they are to participate, and the lower their literacy and numeracy skills are likely to be. This is due to a range of barriers, including prohibitively high costs, lack of personal confidence, or lack of availability and access.

These papers also show that there are a number of actions local authorities can take to increase access to adult learning, improve quality of provision and increase the extent to which it is delivered and targeted proportionate to need.

 The full evidence review and a shorter summary briefing are available to download above.

This document is part of a series. An overview document which provides an introduction to this and other documents in the series, and links to the other topic areas, is available on the ‘Local Action on health inequalities’ project page. A video of Michael Marmot introducing the work is also available on our videos page.






Rights: © PHE
Suggested citation:

UCL Institute of Health Equity. (2014) Adult Learning Services [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 21st July 2019].


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