Lifelong learning will be at the centre of a new Swindon Borough Council initiative that will be launched at Swindon Academy on Wednesday (21 March).

Swindon Borough Council will outline its ambition for Swindon to become a Learning Town at the event, joining other towns and cities in promoting and celebrating learning for all.

The initiative is part of UNESCO’s global network of towns and cities who work together to share ideas and solutions. A Learning Town is defined as a place which uses its resources to promote inclusive, lifelong learning in education, families, communities and the workplace. Other places to have joined the network include Bristol and Swansea.

Each place develops its own strategies and in Swindon there will be a strong emphasis on raising the aspirations and ambitions of all children, young people and adults in relation to educational attainment, skills and opportunities enhanced through learning and qualifications.

There will also be a focus on raising the profile of lifelong learning and education, improving the level of qualifications and skills and increasing the number of students with higher level qualifications and those who go on to higher education.

Swindon Learning Town is being developed as an important part of Swindon Challenge, which aims to improve educational attainment and outcomes throughout Swindon.

The initiative was endorsed by the Council’s Cabinet in October 2017 and will aim to improve educational standards by engaging a wide range of partners across the town including local business, cultural and community organisations and all those engaged in education and training.

One of the key objectives of the Learning Town will be to raise the profile of the benefits of learning and celebrate achievement while raising the aspirations of children, young people and adults.

Work to create a dedicated website, where details of learning opportunities and events can be displayed, is already underway and Wednesday’s launch is designed to engage with leaders in education, local community groups and the businesses to develop a programme of activity throughout the year.

This could result in specific town-wide education-themed weeks involving schools across the Borough, or awareness campaigns of the different types of leaning courses or opportunities that are available in Swindon.

Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “We are absolutely committed to raising educational attainment in Swindon and we have made some great strides at primary level, but there is still so much work to do.

“One of the key areas the Swindon Challenge Board is keen to address is raising the aspirations of our young people so they go on to fulfil their potential in further and higher education. This is why the Learning Town initiative is so important because it will help to embed a culture of lifelong learning among our young people so they carry that on into later life.

“This is a Council-led initiative with great partnership working with schools, businesses, community and voluntary groups. We all have a stake in ensuring that everyone in Swindon reaches their potential.”

To find out more about Swindon Learning Town and how to get involved please email: learningtown@swindon.gov.uk

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