This may mean nothing to you, but it made me happy:
I was at my routine out-patient appointment (mastoid ear, if you’re interested), and the nurse asked whether I had taken the day off work, and I said I was retired, and she said what from, and I said college Principal, and she said where was that, and I said Parson Cross College in Sheffield. And she said “I got into nursing from an Access Course at Parson Cross. It was a wonderful place”. She explained how her dad was made redundant by the steelworks closures, and so she couldn’t complete her secondary schooling but came to college as an adult later. She told me about – and named – the teachers who had supported her, and made a difference. And she said she keeps in contact with friends from her college days and – again – “it was a wonderful place. It changed my life”.
And that’s why I’m glad I worked in further and adult education. Don’t believe a politician who says “you only have one chance of a good education”; you have plenty. Ask Clive James, or Jamie Oliver, Or Colin Firth, or Jimmy Chu, or Willy Russell (and so on for pages) who qualified through further education. The only reason people might not have a second chance is if politicians cut adult and further education, which they are doing remorselessly at the moment. I’m saddened that adult education is one of the unseen casualties of austerity.