Latest News

Praise for Study Plus - Read how the project has made a huge impact on one family's life


Study Plus is a project run by Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service (HAFLS), for young adults, aged 16-19 (24 with an EHCP).

The current term is now  underway in Stevenage but it's not too late to join as there are a limited number of  SPACES STILL AVAILABLE.

We would like to share with you the feedback we received  from a parent, whose daughter joined the project following a significant, close bereavement.

“I cannot praise this scheme enough and the caring and supportive teachers and support staff who are all amazing. It was such a breath of fresh air for her (and me) to finally be understood and not judged or “punished” when things were just too hard to deal with emotionally.

 Every single person that I spoke to or met was understanding and knowledgeable in the area of emotional or mental health and all aspects of teenage concerns.

The outcome being that my daughter now has several certificates of recognised qualifications and is much more confident and resilient to go out into the work place or maybe eventually back into full time education.."

 Study Plus offers:

Functional Skills: English and maths (Entry Level 3 – Level 2)

Gateway Award in Employability Skills (Level 1)

First Aid (Level 3)

Life Skills

Information, Advice and Guidance on work and education choices 

Pathway Planning

Work Experience (if the young person is work-ready)

 The current project is running at:

 The United Reform Church in Cuttys Lane, Stevenage.

Monday – Wednesday from 9.30am- 3.45pm

If you know someone who may benefit from all that this project has to offer, including small class sizes and fantastic pastoral support from the team, please call Louise on 01438 845821 NOW!


HAFLS leisure learning courses arrive in central Hertford!

This Autumn, HAFLS was delighted to launch our new, leisure learning short courses at the new Skills & Learning Centre in central Hertford, set up in partnership with CVS Broxbourne & East Herts.

With a wide range of courses on offer from Languages to Arts and Crafts, the courses have been very popular and there is already a waiting list for the next Spanish for Beginners course starting in January 2020.

The courses have now been running for 2 weeks and we have already captured some fantastic images from the classes that we would like to share with you.

Photography for Beginners - the below images were taken by a learner in his home town, following his first photography lesson.

Photography 3Photography 2Photography 1

Drawing and Painting - Images taken during the first week of the class

Painting 3Painting 2

Creative Frame Loom Weaving - Photos from the first week of the class

Loom weaving 2Loom weaving 1

Our next range of courses are due to launch soon so please keep browsing our website at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/haflscourses and follow us on Social Media to keep up to date with what's on offer.

David Naylor, Building Better Opportunities (BBO) Project Participant to appear at #Watfringe fest!

This month, the team at Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service (HAFLS) were delighted to see one of our Building Better Opportunities participants, David Naylor, make the local news.

David Naylor was one of the many inspirational participants at this year's Building Better Opportunities (BBO) celebration event, sharing his story of how our project helped him, following a severe brain injury in 2017 which left him in a coma for 3 weeks. David had nothing but praise for  the project, stating; ‘I was a little lost a year ago but thanks to my friends at BBO, I now know why I moved to Stevenage’.

BBO David

(David Naylor, BBO participant, explains the impact BBO has had on his life)

A talented songwriter, David has since been able to use his love of music as a focus for his recovery and on Saturday 12th October, he  is appearing at Watford Museum as part of #Watfringe to talk about his journey and perform his music. David will be  donating a percentage of profits to the Headway charity in London in recognition of the support he received from the charity. His inspirational story was featured  in the local newspaper, the Comet 24,  helping to spread the word about the fantastic work that the Building Better Opportunities project does across Hertfordshire.

DN paper 

Visit our website for more details on the BBO project, jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund.

BBO leaflet

Inspirational videos produced from both the June 2019 HAFLS Annual Achievement Awards and the May 2019 Building Better Opportunities Annual Celebration Event

 If you missed the BBO Celebration event or the Annual HAFLS Achievements Awards held during the spring/summer, please watch the videos, they’re inspirational!

 The Building Better Opportunities project in Hertfordshire supports unemployed residents to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion. The mentors working on the project provide one to one support to help participants back into employment, education and improving financial situations. The project will help participants to overcome multiple complex needs, build confidence and resilience, and become less isolated from their local communities. There are 3 strands to the project ; Strive, Herts Youth Futures & Mile.

The Building Better Opportunities project is match funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund.

Meanwhile, the HAFLS Adult Achievement Awards celebrate the outstanding successes of learners, tutors and mentors and this year was held at the historical Hatfield House.

It was an event held to celebrate the work and achievement of learners/participants and their tutors/mentors who have taken part in the many projects that HAFLS  have run in the community over the past year.

Many of the learners have successfully completed courses or have been mentored towards employment, under difficult and challenging circumstances. Awards were given in subjects including English, maths, health and wellbeing and skills for work.

Government updates

HAFLS participates in Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL) research


Chantal Lommel, Head of HAFLS, had the pleasure to be selected with other 4 Heads of Service within Adult Community Learning to take part in a Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL) research project about leadership in adult education.

Each year, more than 600,000 adult students are supported, and many of those are from the most deprived localities in England. The sector can also demonstrate the quality of its education provision and its relentless focus on ensuring students meet their goals. However, although there is much research on the benefits of adult learning there is very little written about how adult education is delivered in the community or how it fits within a local authority and with other services and partners who work with a similar client group.

This research project and resulting monograph begin to give substance to what makes adult community education successful. The research shows that inspiring leadership is vital and the ability to 'join the dots' and be 'quick of foot' is crucial when meeting the multiple needs of residents.

The full article makes for interesting reading, and with references to HAFLS on both pages 6 and 33, can be accessed here; https://fetl.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Monograph-Holex-webversion.pdf


The Government Education Committee begin an Adult skills and lifelong learning inquiry

HOC Education committee

'The Education Committee has launched an inquiry examining the benefits of adult skills and lifelong learning to the individual, society and the wider economy. The inquiry will also explore the level of support available to learners, and the role played by local authorities/combined authority areas in providing adult education.

The UK spends just two-thirds of the EU average on adult training, while the poorest adults with the lowest qualifications are the least likely to learn new skills. The Education Committee's inquiry will look into how improving adult skills can promote social justice and boost productivity across the country.

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said:

"Brexit, persistent skills gaps and the onward march of automation should place adult skills and lifelong learning at the centre stage of our education and industrial policy.

Given the changing demands of the future world of work, it's more important than ever that education doesn't just stop at 18 or 21. The educational ladder of opportunity shouldn't terminate abruptly when someone leaves school, college or university. For the benefit of our economy and for the individual, it is vital that learning continues through life, supporting all members of society in improving their levels of skills. Businesses and the third sector can play a key role in driving progress in this area. 

Nearly half of the poorest adults receive no training after leaving school. For too long further education has been a poor relation to other education sectors. While the measures to strengthen FE in the recent Augar review were welcome, these are just the beginning. Our Committee will examine what more can be done to encourage adult skills and life-long learning.

Supporting people to learn new skills, whether as a mature student at university, training at work or attending the local adult education college, will boost the UK's productivity and have a powerful effect on the life prospects of everyone in society, including the disadvantaged."

This inquiry will build on the Committee's work on the fourth industrial revolution, which examined the readiness of the UK's education system for the challenges and opportunities offered by upcoming developments in digital, robotics, AI, and the changing labour market.' (https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-committee/news-parliament-2017/adult-skills-and-lifelong-learning-launch-17-19/)

At HAFLS, we await further news with the understanding that the future is very uncertain for ALL WORKERS. We will all need to work longer; the jobs available to our children and grandchildren will be different; there will be new jobs that need new skills alongside the growth of artificial intelligence and a different way of doing things will impact on many jobs.

A lot of people are increasingly facing other issues (e.g. issues with integration, loneliness and mental health) which can be mitigated with the help of a cohesive and local approach to adult education. There has never been a time when participating in adult education is so important and vital for our future and the future of our workforce and subsequent generations. We know there's not enough investment and funding for adult education, so the results of this inquiry will have a real impact on the future of adult education.

Hear from our learners

In their own words...Carina Rogers, Functional Skills English & Maths.

FS Group

(Carina, pictured second from right with Councillor Richard Roberts, on a visit to ASCEND in South Oxhey)

Carina joined both a Functional Skills English and Maths course, run via our partner ASCEND UK, based in South Oxhey.

In her own words this is what Carina had to say at the end of the English course;

'This course has enabled me to pursue my dream of going to university, something which I had always felt was out of my reach. The course cost ensured I could afford to do the course as I had recently become a single parent, and had to reduce my working hours.

HAFLS has provided me the ability to progress in my career and learning. I have always been in full time employment and progressed well in roles. However when I saw my opportunity to go to university was having to be put on hold, due to my low GCSE results, I was disappointed, having looked at attending a college to complete functional skills, the cost was something I had to consider. Also the thought of attending a course with young people and teenagers put me off.

The English course has provided me with the foundations I will need for writing for assignments at university. I am very grateful to Jacqui ( her tutor) for her patience, with my continued questioning, my constant debating and never ending need to question the way things were written.

HAFLS offers everyone the opportunity to grow and develop - I will be encouraging people I meet personally and professionally towards HAFLS courses.'

Carina, June 2019 

We offer both English and Maths Functional Skills qualifications across Hertfordshire. To find out what's running in your area, call us on 01992 556194.

Publication success for a Writing for Pleasure and Profit course learner!


We were delighted to hear that 'Writing for Pleasure and Profit' course learner, Julia, has had an article published in a popular boating magazine 'Canal Boating Times', highlighting the fantastic work that CanalAbility do across Essex, Herts and London. Julia Rizzi joined CanalAbility for the day to see how the charity accommodates people of all needs aboard its trip-boats.

CanalAbility provide the facilities for people with disabilities and special needs to enjoy boating on the river on our specially adapted canal boats. Boats can be hired for a day trip, short break or longer holiday to allow enjoyment of the relaxing tranquillity of cruising along the river.

Their boats have a range of facilities that make it possible for disabled people and people with mobility difficulties to access and enjoy them, including ramps, lifts, and hoist points. The focus for the organisation is on ‘Ability, not disability‘.

As a charity, CanalAbility try to make their boats available to anyone who will benefit from their facilities and whose well-being will be enhanced through participating in a cruise along the waterways.

To check out the range of writing courses we offer, please visit our website to find out more!

Hear from our partners

CLP Learner speaks of her new-found ability to 'make things that look quite good'!


Up until about 18 months ago, Lorraine would’ve said that she didn’t have an artistic bone in her body, apart from colouring books, which she has enjoyed since childhood, and still finds relaxing.  However, some of her friends, and friends of friends, were sharing pictures of lovely items on Facebook, which they’d learned how to make on HAFLS-funded courses here at CLP.

Lorraine has multiple health conditions and the pain from sarcoidoisis, in particular, was making it difficult for her to move around and even get out of bed at times.  Doctors at the hospital disagreed with one another about the cause of her arm swelling and frequent flare-ups, and this made her feel insecure about treatment plans and worried she was becoming a hypochondriac.  Stress makes the pain from sarcoidosis worse, and Lorraine was going through a very stressful time indeed.  The only time she left her home was to go Sunday services and a mid-week group at her church.  There were also frequent trips to The Royal Free, Tooting and Northwick Park hospitals, which left Lorraine feeling exhausted.

Nonetheless, she reluctantly came along to St Martin’s, despite being anxious about meeting new people and feeling insignificant and awkward.  She commented how welcoming everybody was and how we made her feel safe in a new environment.  Moreover, we are just a stone’s throw away from where Lorraine lives, and it has become a home-from-home.

To her surprise, and with a little encouragement, Lorraine found that she could do more than colouring-in, and could ‘actually make things that looked quite good!’  One of our art tutors, Paula Watkins, was extremely encouraging and, because of her, Lorraine was able to step out of her comfort zone and prepare herself for learning.  The first course she participated in was art journalling, and she was sure to tell the tutor that she couldn’t actually do anything creative!   However, Paula convinced her that she could and gently coaxed her into drawing a bird.  What helped was that Paula demonstrated a simple way of being able to draw it, showing her step-by-step.  Lorraine didn’t feel at all intimidated, or out of place, as she had thought she would.  She learned a lot of skills on this course including sewing on to fabric and paper; embossing; collage and using teabags to create beautiful images in her journal.

Shortly afterwards, Lorraine joined the Building Better Opportunities project, where she has grown in confidence by being mentored and learning even more skills such as crochet; sashiko embroidery; indigo resist dyeing and felting. Lorraine says that she owes a lot to CLP and the Building Better Opportunities project because taking part in courses; engagement activities and self-organised creative groups has helped her with pain control.  Overall, it has improved her sense of wellbeing and mental health and she has made many new friendships here with crafters sharing similar interests. 

These friendships have extended to participating in external art workshops and going out for coffee and other social occasions.  She also organised a CLP mini bus trip to the Victoria & Albert museum to see the recent Frida Kahlo exhibition.  Lorraine introduced us to Roundabout Transport, who arranged a driver, and it was such a pleasure to make the outing accessible to all of our learners as the minibus is suitable for users of motorised wheelchairs.

Lorraine’s new-found confidence has enabled her to do a little volunteering at CLP, buddying an anxious neighbour to enrol on a HAFLS-funded family art course, and participate in CLP’s Herts Open Studios exhibition, where she is currently displaying her work.  This is a role she plans to develop more fully, as her health and hospital appointments allow.  It has also strengthened bonds with her mother, who is a lifelong crafter.  They have something in common now, and her mum is delighted that Lorraine has lovely things to do and is finding life much more fulfilling.  Lorraine says that even her church friends see her in a completely different light as CLP has brought her out of herself, and she is so full of life and enthusiasm from the joy that being part of our learning community brings.

Elizabeth Borg

CEO, Community Learning Partnership


To check out the range of courses that CLP offer, visit their Facebook page or give them a call on 0208 4215 544

Partner Awards 2018-19 - Who took the crown!?

Oaklands winner

For anyone that missed it, our annual Partners Awards took place in July, for academic year 2018-19!

Winners of the Awards were as follows;

1st Place went to Oaklands College
2nd place went to Community Learning Partnership (CLP)
3rd place went jointly to Create Community Network and Groundwork

Congratulations to the winners and we would also like to praise and thank all of our partners for their commitment and hard work throughout 18/19

Community Learning Partnership
Create Community Network
West Herts College
Watford Womens Centre
Best Practice
Direct Delivery
Herts Mind Network
Hertfordshire Community Learning
Hertfordshire Care Providers Association
Community Action Dacorum
Adult Training Network

Equality & Diversity

#DyslexiaAwarenessWeek - How does HAFLS cater for dyslexic learners?


The 7th to 15th October will mark Dyslexia Awareness Week, from the British Dyslexia Association.

'This year, Dyslexia Awareness Week is all about empowering people with dyslexia. Whether it be empowering them to access support, find careers where they can flourish in organisations that value them, or access and contribute to the wider world in every way they wish to.'  (https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/support-us/awareness-events/dyslexia-awareness-week/daw-2019)

 At HAFLS, where a learner declares themselves to have dyslexia on the course enrolment form, we provide a variety of resources and additional support to help that learner during the duration of our course.

Looking at our Study Plus provision, we accept students aged 16-19 who have struggled at school, for a variety of reasons, which can include dyslexia.

Most recently, we enrolled one learner who was very dyslexic, who said she had learnt more with us at Study Plus in a few months than her entire time at secondary school. She passed her English and maths at L2 in July.

Where dyslexia is declared or suspected, the Study Plus team work with learners individually to assess their needs and the team often conducts assessments with learners to ensure they receive targeted Additional Learing Support where needed.

A variety of resources are used to support dyslexic learners including: reading pens, coloured overlays and laptops.  The support is always learner-centred and is led by what helps them.


World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 - The impact of courses on wellbeing


The 10th September marked #WorldSuicidePreventionDay and was acknowledged by HAFLS across social media avenues.

Organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), the day aims to highlight the universal challenge of suicide prevention. 'Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.

Every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompasses suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide.' (https://www.iasp.info/wspd2019/)

At HAFLS, a lot of our learners commonly remark on how adult learning helps them in coping with, or as a distraction from, the symptoms of anxiety and depression. The chance to escape their own thoughts is a welcome relief and the focus of a course is sometimes the light at the end of a tunnel for a learner.

The important thing to understand is that you are not alone and there are a number of ways to get help.

Helplines: Samaritans: 116 123 (free, for everyone, 24/7)
CALM: 0800 585858 (free, for men, 5pm-midnight)
PAPYRUS: 0800 968 4141 (free, for young people, 9am-10pm Mon-Fri, 2pm-10pm at the weekend)
NHS non-emergency: England/Scotland: 111
Wales: 0845 4647

In Hertfordshire, one of our partners, Mind, run a fantastic Nightlight crisis service which can also be a lifeline;


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