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Adult Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL: General Timeline


Developments in the 1970s

Date Event
1971 Immigration Act.
1971 DES The Education of Immigrants.
1972 Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” published in UK for first time in English
1973 Estimates that only 5,000 people were receiving help with reading and writing in England and Wales. Only half the Local Education Authorities in the UK were providing classes.
1973 Russell Report on Adult education.
1973 Employment and Training Act required LEAs to set up careers service; established the Manpower Services Commission which began work on January 1 1974, under the Department of Employment with tripartite representation from trade unions, employers and government.
1973 7 November, British Association of Settlements Conference: Status Illiterate, Prospects Zero. Launched the Right to Read manifesto.
1973-4 Between 1973 and 1974 the BBC planned a television series to help adults gain reading and writing skills. The TV series "On the Move" which starred Bob Hoskins was subsequently shown at peak times on Sunday teatime's with day time repeats (see below).
1974 Industrial Language Training Unit formed, as one of the MSC's first projects.
1975 Adult Literacy Campaign. Estimates that 15,000 people were receiving help with reading and writing in England and Wales In April 1975 Reg Prentice, the Labour government's Education Minister, established the Adult Literacy Resource Agency (ALRA), under directorship of William Devereux. Initially for one year, ALRA was given 1 million a year for 3 years to support the development of literacy provision in Local Authorities and voluntary organisations. The establishment of ALRA responded directly to one of the 17 detailed recommendations put forward in "The Right to Read". However not all recommendations were accepted and the Government did not accept the central recommendation on funding, which proposed that Local Authorities should submit schemes to the Government to claim 75% of their expenditure, along the lines of the Urban Aid programme.Like many other countries around the world the UK Government also saw the problem in terms of a short term campaign, not a 10 year programme as recommended and failed to take the steps needed to change the law to enable direct Government funding to provide the support need by Local Authorities.
1975 The first "On the Move" programme was broadcast in October 1975 and by December 10,000 people had contacted the national helpline. The first materials were published in 1975, a support book for the TV series and a trainers kit and a Resource Kit for tutors and volunteers. Videos and slide tape programmes were also produced.
1975-8 Between 1975 and 1978 75,000 volunteers were trained to take part in the Literacy campaign from national referrals, many worked on a one to one basis in the home.
1975 Write First Time Student newspaper and Collective formed.
1976 MSC full time TOPs and YOPs courses (1977) Pre TOPS courses followed in 1977, full time (40 hours), full year courses in ABE with expenses included but later cut down. Lasted until 1984.
1976 53,000 Adults estimated to be receiving help with reading and writing in England and Wales.
1976 Race Relations Act.
1976 Language and Literacy Unit set up in London.
1977 Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (FWWCP) started the National Federation of Voluntary Literacy Schemes.
1977 Parosi, first ESOL Programme, produced by Robert Clamp at the BBC.
1977 The Home Tutor Kit, Commission for Racial Equality.
1978 ALRA became the Adult Literacy Unit (ALU) in 1978 with a remit to become an advisory service with funding to finance special development projects and to develop and publish appropriate materials for adult literacy work. The annual budget allocated was only 300,000 which was a considerable reduction. Other were passed straight to the local authorities through the Rate Support Grant, with which they were under no obligation to provide literacy classes. Alan Wells was appointed as the director of the ALU.
ALRA and ALU operated as agencies of the National Institute of Continuing Education (NIACE).
1978 Formation of NATESLA. Publication of NATECLA News.
1978 125,000 people were estimated to have received help with reading and writing in England and Wales.
1978 All Local Authorities had full and/or part time organisers appointed.
1979 (?) Basic Skills Project "Workbase" was founded by the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE). It was initially called the NUPE Basic Skills Project.
1979 ACACE report: A Strategy for Adult Basic Education.
1979 Jones and Charnley, NIAE : Adult Literacy: A Study of Its Impact.
1979 Margaret Thatcher came into power.

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