This document, commissioned by Public Health England, and written by the UCL Institute of Health Equity, addresses 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.
This paper also demonstrates 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.