Learning & skills Northumberland

Learning & skills Northumberland

Here you will find information about the range of courses and activities we offer right across the county, day and night.

Northumberland learning & skills courses

This section provides information about our full and part-time courses, including skills, community and leisure.

   New summer courses brouchure

Extra summer courses added by popular demand

We have added extra courses starting this summer including courses in  in:
  • Healthcare and Education
  • Science and humanities
  • Beauty and alterative therapies
  • Construction
  • Hospitality
  • Business and ICT
  • Arts and creative studies
  • Maths and English courses

Click here to download the latest brouchure


   Our Full Summer Brochure


Adult learning Summer Courses Brochure coverOur full learning and skills course prospectus

Our prospectuses are produced termly.

We  run a range of learning, training and development opportunities that can help you to be what you want to be, whoever you are, and wherever in Northumberland you live.

Our courses are local and taught by experienced, qualified tutors who have a strong track record in helping people to make the most of their talents.

Why not call us on  01670 624878 or take a look at our latest courses starting soon


Other courses that we run

   Our Young Persons Learning Brochure

 Be anything you want to be Brochure cover
We run a range of job-related study programmes that can help you to be what you want to be, whoever you are,and wherever in Northumberland you live.

Our study programmes are for young people who might need something different to what school or college can offer.

Our programmes are also for young people with special educational
needs who need some extra help to do well.

Class sizes are smaller than college or school, so you have plenty of helpand support and time with your tutor. 

Download our new Young Persons Learning Brochure here  

Our Anytime learning courses

Anytime learning Brochure

Alternatively you might be wanting to start a skills course straight away.

Look through our ‘Anytime Learning’ prospectus below, which are our courses offered on a roll on roll off basis with starts throughout the year.

Once you’ve completed an induction with the class teacher, you will be able to start your course very quickly.

It also contains our job club and employability courses, English and Maths programmes that welcome new starters all through the year. 


What type of learning and skills course can I study?
We offer four types of course:

These are for those aged 16+ who want to work with an employer to develop skills and knowledge while working towards achieving nationally recognised qualifications. Click here to find out more.  

Skills courses 
These build professional or vocational skills, help people return to work or prepare for higher education. All skills-based courses involve studying for a qualification.
English and Maths boosters – Functional Skills
If you worry about maths or English, then you’re not alone. Thousands of people do. You might find it difficult to read. You might struggle to add up the cost of food, shopping or loans.
It could be that you want to take a particular course and you need to have passed English or maths. Whatever your challenge, we can help you. We run maths and English classes in every one of our centres. And here’s the good news: all English and maths classes are free. We teach in small classes, making it easier for you to work together and learn these key skills. You can study functional skills or GCSE and A Level programmes.
Job Clubs
One of the things people feel most acutely when out of work is isolation. It’s easy to feel that you’re facing this all alone. Job clubs, where you can meet and be supported by experts as you search, have been very successful in helping people find permanent work. We focus on helping you to prepare your CV and how to create compelling cover letters. We can help give your confidence a boost as you get
ready for interviews. Our experts are always at hand to help you make the most of opportunities as they come along.
Learning & skills courses study roadmaps
We’ve produced study roadmaps for each of our subject areas, which show you how you can progress from entry level to level three or four in your chosen area of study.

To download a study roadmap, click on one of the links below:
What levels can I study?
Our courses run from the following levels:
  • entry level and level one
  • level two
  • level three
  • GCSEs
  • AS, A2, A Levels and access to higher education diplomas
How do I know which level is right for me?
Many of our courses do not have entry requirements, so you don't always have to have qualifications or previous experience to join.  

Learning & skills course fees

Here you will find information about course fees and available support.

We’ve kept our prices as low as possible, to help you learn at an affordable rate. You can find the fees for each course in the prospectus - fees include tuition and exam costs where applicable. You may need to provide materials, ingredients and books to support your learning.
Our skills and community learning courses are subsidised with government funding from the Skills Funding Agency.

Can I get a free place on a learning & skills course?
Our leisure courses, groups and clubs don’t have any public funding or subsidy to help fund them, so we’re unable to offer free places or concessions on them.

For skills courses and community learning, many learners are entitled to free study during 2016/2017.  
Can I get help with fees?
Financial support is available for our courses for those who meet with certain criteria. It is not available for leisure courses as we don’t receive government subsidies for these.

To find out more about other financial support including grants, bursaries or help towards childcare and travel, see the support for our learners section below. 
Can I apply for an advanced learning loan for a learning & skills course?
If you are aged 24 or above and want to study for level three or four courses, you will need to pay for the learning or apply for an advanced learning loan from the Student Loans Company.
  • Student loans are available for; level three or four certificates or diplomas, A Levels, access to higher education courses, advanced and higher apprenticeships.
  • Household income isn’t taken into account and there’s no credit check.
  • Loans are for a minimum of £300, and you will need to borrow enough to cover the cost of the course.
  • You won’t have to pay anything back until you’ve completed your course and your income is more than £21,000 a year.
  • If your advanced learning loan is for an access to higher education programme and you go on to graduate from university, you won’t have to pay it back.
We know learning can be expensive, so this is a great way to make learning affordable and spread the cost of your payments after you qualify. The sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll know if you’ve been successful and we can confirm your place on the course. Need help? Call us on 01670 622105
How do I enrol?
Most of our courses are open enrolment. You can enrol by telephone or in person at one of our learning centres. Most centres are open Monday to Thursday, 9am to 7.30pm.
See below to view contact details for our learning centres.

If you have queries about enrolment, contact our support team on 01670 622105.

For some higher level courses we may need to talk to you about your suitability. If so, we’ll let you know when you contact us to enrol.

Support for our learners

Our dedicated team offer extra services to support you as you learn during your course. This includes support for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, young carers or if you simply need extra support.

Click on the links below to see how we can help you.

Learning support for disabilities, learning difficulties & other specific needs
If you have a disability, learning difficulty or other particular need (for example, you are a young carer and need extra support) we will make any reasonable adjustment to our programmes to help you access and get the most out of your studies with us.

If you require any special arrangements, contact the learning support team on 01670 622100 as soon as possible.
We’re here to help and can assist you with arranging:
  • advice and guidance to help decide if we’re right for you
  • learning support, signers, translators, communicators, readers or other classroom support
  • dyslexia assessment
  • specialist equipment
  • extra time for examinations and assessment
  • course materials in another format
  • counselling and other confidential sessions with our advisers
  • other support you think would help you succeed on your course
In some centres we offer specialist support to learners with dyslexia. Please tell us if you think this might help you.

If you’re a parent or carer of children or young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), click here to find out more about our local offer.
Advice & guidance
Our advisers can help you with information advice and guidance on courses, entry requirements and progression routes into further learning or work.
If you have any questions before enrolling, please contact the centre where you are studying. We can also arrange for you to talk directly to the course tutor if it will help. We can discuss your training, learning and work needs and help with:
  • planning your future
  • job search techniques
  • developing your CV
  • skills to complete job application forms
  • identifying your training needs and possible career choices
  • finding suitable learning opportunities
Support with English & maths skills
We know it’s important to have good levels of English and maths skills for successful study, as well as coping better in work and daily life. If you worry about maths or English, then you’re not alone. Thousands of people do.

We run free maths and English classes in every one of our centres. Most of them offer a range of timetabled courses and drop-in facilities so you can study:
  • speaking, reading, writing and listening in English
  • employability skills for job search, CV writing and job application forms
  • maths, numbers, dealing with money and finance skills
What happens if I need to undertake a work placement as part of my course?
If you need a work placement to complete your qualification, we’ll do all we can to help you find a relevant placement that will give you the experience you need.

Going into a work placement on a regular basis or on block release will help you:
  • to become confident in new environments and with new people
  • to develop your skills outside the classroom
  • provide the evidence you need for your qualification
  • enhance your CV and job applications
You can also find your own work placement and we’ll check the employer can provide a safe workplace and the opportunities you need.
Your health & wellbeing
Our safeguarding and health and safety officers are there to help and support you if you’re concerned at any time during your study. When you start learning with us, you’ll be given their emergency contact numbers.
You can call any of these people for help:
Brian Harrison 01670 622121
Gill Fox 01670 622107
Jane Cooper 01670 620221
Graeme Slator 01670 854372
Emergency Number 07800885174
We also have a range of other services to help you, including awareness courses in mental health, sexual health, alcohol and substance misuse. Courses run at various times throughout the year and can help with your own wellbeing and safety around others. Some of our centres also offer C-Card and other sexual health services.

Useful documents:
Students' union
Our students’ union is also there to provide advice, guidance and support, and campaign for students’ rights.
Northumberland learning and skills service is registered with the National Union of Students (NUS), which enables all our students to purchase an NUS extra card to benefit from many discounts. 
To apply for an NUS extra card:
  • you must be 16 or over and studying with us (full or part-time)
  • your course must have started
Equality & diversity
We welcome diversity in our learner population; valuing differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief, class and age.

We’re committed to providing a caring, inclusive learning environment. We aim to:
  • remove conditions that put people at a disadvantage
  • improve access
  • support learners to help them succeed
We proactively prevent inappropriate behaviour, discrimination or victimisation in any form.

A copy of our equality and diversity policy is available on request.

Other funds & bursaries to help with learning & skills courses

If you do not qualify for free tuition, you may still be able to receive help with fees and costs, including travel and childcare. Have a look at the areas where financial support is available below.

Learner bursary fund
Full-time learners aged 16 to 18 could receive up to £1,200 through our bursary scheme, depending on your household income and circumstances.
How do I apply or who can I speak to if I need more help?
  • Telephone our support team on 01670 622105 for an application pack.
  • Give completed forms to any staff member at your learning centre.

Please note: We can only answer queries for learners intending to study with Northumberland learning and skills service. If you or your child is studying with a school, college or another provider and want advice about their bursary schemes, please contact them direct.
Travel costs
Northumberland County Council operates a free student travel scheme to help students aged 16 to 19 access further education.

Eligibility criteria are set out in our application form. For an application, email post16transport@northumberland.gov.uk or call 0845 6006400.
Adult learner support funds – hardship & childcare grants
If you are 19+ and studying on one of our programmes you may be eligible for assistance with a support fund grant to help towards some of your learning costs.

This might include travel and childcare costs, equipment, books, materials or a uniform. It can also occasionally help some students with tuition and exam/registration fees.

Grants awarded are normally no more than £250 for part-time learners. We may consider larger grants for full-time learners.

Two types of grant are available:
  • 19+ hardship grants, for learners aged 19 + on 31st August 2013
  • 20+ childcare grants, for learners aged 20 + on 31st August 2013
You can only apply for childcare grants to enable your child/children to attend childcare approved or registered with Ofsted. Informal childcare cannot be funded.

Please also look at the help with childcare section below.

How do I apply for the adult learner support fund?
Please speak to our student advisers at any of our learning centres or contact Sue McLellan on 01670 622123. You can apply at any time during your studies. 
Help with childcare costs
If you’re a parent under 20 years old and want to continue your education, Care to Learn (C2L) could help with childcare costs.

C2L supports young parents by funding the costs of Ofsted-registered childcare and associated transport when learning starts. They pay up to £160-a-week per child.

Payments are made directly to the childcare provider. The scheme is administered nationally by the learner support service.

Parents must apply to C2L for each academic year in which they need support.

For information or an application pack, visit the gov.uk site or contact the learner support service on 0800 1218989.

Learning and skills courses FAQs

We've tried to answer the questions you may have before you enrol. Can’t find the answer to your question? Call us on 01670 622123.

Where & when do course prospectuses get delivered?
We send out our course guides to all Northumberland households via the Royal Mail.

The autumn prospectuses are delivered in late August and early September depending on where you live.
The spring prospectuses are delivered in late January and early February depending on where you live.

You will be sent the prospectus for the area closest to where you live. You can download prospectuses for other areas from this page. 
Where can I get the prospectus in other formats?
If you need our prospectus or other information in any other format including large print, braille, audio, or another language, please contact us:
  • Telephone: 01670 622104                   
  • Type talk: 01800 10845 600 6400                            
  • Email: adultlearning@northumberland.gov.uk 
How can I pay for my course?
You can pay in the following ways:
  • over the phone, using a credit/debit card
  • at one of our learning centres using cash, cheque or credit card
  • or by instalments

Paying in instalments
You can apply to pay in instalments if your tuition fees are more than £150 and your course is qualification based.

  • Arrangements must be agreed with the service and you will need to sign a bank mandate before starting the course.
  • Course costs will be divided into three equal (or as near equal) consecutive monthly instalments, with the first instalment due immediately.
Please note: if you withdraw from the course, you’re still liable to pay the full tuition fees and agree to all the planned instalments being collected. Only where the learner meets the conditions of our refunds policy can we refund any remaining fees.
What happens at the first class?
You should turn up to the centre where your course is held on the advertised start date. You will be asked to complete a learner agreement and learner record, which is required for funding the course and helps us to provide the support you’ll need while studying with us.

To ensure you get the best learning possible, we’ll ask you about your previous learning experiences and look at what support you may need. We will explore what you want to get out of your learning programme to help us assist you in your development.
What happens if I skip class?
Please try to attend all classes punctually and regularly. If you're unable to attend a class you should let your centre know by telephone or email as soon as possible.

If you’ll be absent for a number of weeks, but intend to return, please let your course tutor know.

Contact our learning & skills centres

We have a range of learning centres across the county, so there's somewhere to learn close to where you live.

We have a range of learning centres across the county, so there's somewhere to learn close to where you live.
Contact details for our centres are listed below.

North Northumberland – Alnwick, Amble, Berwick and Rothbury
  • Alnwick Adult Learning Centre, Lindisfarne Road, Alnwick, NE66 1AX. Tel: 01670 623691 
    Berwick Adult Learning Centre, Walkergate Library, Berwick upon Tweed, TD15 1DB. Tel: 01670 626107
    You can also contact our North Northumberland and Rural Coalfields Development Officer on 07867441941
West Northumberland – Haltwhistle, Hexham and Prudhoe
  • Hexham Gatehouse, Wanless Lane, Hexham, NE46 1BU. Tel: 01670 623701
    Prudhoe FUSE Media Centre, Moor Road, Prudhoe, NE42 5LJ. Tel: 01670 623689
    You can also contact our West Northumberland Development Officer on 07867441942
Southeast Northumberland – Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Morpeth and Cramlington
  • Ashington Training Centre, Freeman Way, Ashington, NE63 0YB. Tel: 01670 623666
    Bedlington Open Learning Centre, Jubilee Terrace, Bedlington, NE22 5HB. Tel: 01670 623687
    Blyth Adult Learning Centre, Brunel Building,64 Regent Street, Blyth, NE24 1LT. Tel: 01670 622099
    Morpeth Open Learning Centre, Cottingwood Lane, Morpeth. NE61 1DN. Tel: 01670 622257
    Northumbria House, Manor Walks, Cramlington, NE23 6UR. Tel: 01670 622104

Access to Higher Education (HE) courses

An Access to HE Diploma is one of the main routes into University for adult learners.

There are many fulfilling careers that are impossible to get in to without going to university but getting back into full time study can be challenging. 

An Access to  Higher Education course is a really good way to start thinking academically again and universities love it too!
Being a graduate can open doors for you, it can give you a chance to explore a new career, help you to develop your interests and increase your earning power.

Find out more about our Access courses and how to join