Wirral Lifelong Learning Service has a policy of charging fees for some courses. Our funding is received from Liverpool City Region, who expect us to set fees for some courses, the government view being that adults who can afford to pay for learning should pay, and public subsidy should be targeted at the most disadvantaged learners.

Skills for Life courses are offered free for all adults who need them.  Skills for Life courses are Numeracy, Literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at level 2 or below and (from August 2021) Digital Skills.

Any income generated from fees is used to fund more courses and growth. The fee policy is based on a rate comparable to other local providers who run similar courses

Wirral Lifelong and Family Learning Service - Fees Statement

  • Adult Learners who are on an Income-based benefit, or who earn no more than £18,525 (Gross i.e., before deductions), will not pay course fees. When we say ‘earn’ we mean through either employment or through a pension.
  • Further fee exemptions apply to Adult Learners depending upon their prior learning attainments – please phone our admin team on 666 3330 for details if you have been asked to pay a fee but wish to find out if you may be exempt.
  • Skills for Life / Functional Skills - Adult literacy and numeracy / Family Learning literacy, numeracy courses & Digital Skills courses are free (this is a national Adult Learning policy).
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at level 2 or below are free, to stimulate demand from targeted groups.
  • Very short tasters or workshops, comprising of one session, can be free, as a tool to encourage learners to progress to further learning.
  • Courses targeting specific vulnerable groups are often free for learners.
  • We do not charge an ‘Admin’, ‘Joining’ or registration fee.

For specialist courses and courses commissioned by another organisation or with sponsorship from employers, a higher fee should be charged to cover costs.

Course Number of hours 2021-21 full course fee for learners who pay
Taster or Workshop course (one session only) e.g., Healthy Eating, Confidence Building, Pathways to Employment course 2 to 6 hours Free
English, Maths, and ESOL courses 20+ hours Free
Pathways to Employment or Volunteering courses Typically 24 hours but may vary

Floristry Level 1 & 2: £272
Sewing Level 1 & 2: £272
Teaching Assistant training, Open Awards: £272
Gardening Level 1 Open Awards: £272

All Digital Skills courses: (Computer courses) 10 to 20 hours Free
British Sign Language Level 1 (Open Awards) 20 hours £122

Instalments: There is an option to pay in instalments (learner will need to complete a short application form).  Payments on a weekly basis are discouraged due to practicalities of collection, transporting and receipting, but 4 equal payments, for example, would be acceptable. These can be negotiated with our admin team on 0151 666 3330.

Remission Of Fees Wirral Lifelong Service Fee Remission policy

In the 20/21 year, more Wirral adults than ever before received their courses at no charge.

Courses are free to learners in receipt of an income based / means tested benefit. Courses are also free for all learners who individually earn no more than £18,525 Gross, annually.

Fee Remission Categories

If you are… Tuition & exam fees What to bring as proof of entitlement
In receipt of an income-based benefit such as Universal Credit / ESA No charge to learner Letter/ official document
in receipt of an individual income of no more than   £18,525 before deductions No charge to learner Wage slip / P60 etc
in receipt of Pension Credits (Guarantee Credit only) No charge to learner Award notice / letter etc
Offender serving a sentence in the community No charge to learner Letter from Probation service
Taking a Skills for Life Course (English, Maths, Digital Skills or ESOL) No charge to learner Subject to status of course
Unwaged dependants of those listed above* No charge to learner Evidence of partner’s entitlement
Registered unemployed, but not in receipt of benefit No charge to learner Letter from Job Centre Plus

Evidence

All proof of entitlement must be produced at the enrolment session or first teaching session.

Proof of entitlement must be current and /or dated within the last 3 months.

Examination / Registration / Certification Costs

Exam and certification will be absorbed by the Lifelong Learning Service, for most adult learners, in the 2021-22 academic year, exceptions being:

  • Where a learner is an employee of or is a client of another organisation, and costs can be recovered from that organisation by way of invoicing.
  • Where the course lies outside of the Skills for Life provision, e.g., Equality and Diversity Training.
  • Where learners cannot evidence fee remission category as detailed above.

Refund of Fees

We recognise that there are circumstances in which learners have a genuine reason to claim a refund. 

Refunds are offered in the following circumstances to all people who have enrolled on a class:

  • Where the course closes as a result of lack of numbers to make the class viable.
  • Where a class is cancelled by the service for any reason.
  • The meeting times, venue or day of the class are changed so that it is no longer possible for an individual to attend.
  • A learner enrols in advance of the course starting and pays a fee but prior to the course starting their circumstances change so that they are entitled to a free class.  Note this would not apply once the course has started.
  • In addition, a refund may be offered where personal circumstances change so that it is impossible to attend the class.

Instalments

Instalment payment options will be offered; in circumstances where a learner is paying for a course by instalments they are not paying for part of the course, merely spreading the payment. If they dropped out of a course, they would be liable for the full amount of the course – we don’t operate a ‘pay as you learn’ system.

Appeals

In exceptional circumstances learners who are not eligible for fee remission can appeal, in writing to the Business Support Manager, to be considered for fee remission. Contact is: markwhiteley@wirral.gov.uk

Review

This policy will be reviewed annually considering national changes in funding for adults.