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Education and Older Learners: Politics and Experience 1997-2010

Rose, GM; (2017) Education and Older Learners: Politics and Experience 1997-2010. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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This PhD analyses adult education policy motives, priorities and developments as they affected those in their third age during New Labour’s years in power, 1997-2010. This purpose is achieved by understanding the lifestyles, interests and preferences of this group in terms of employment, leisure and learning, as set within the socio-economic context of a period that included changing trends in demography, increasing longevity among individuals, and the reconfiguration of retirement as a phase of life. Through an examination of policy documents and fieldwork the study also explores the ‘meanings’ that government priorities for active engagement in the third age engender, as well as interpreting the role of leisure, volunteering and formal learning in achieving these ‘meanings.’ New Labour’s policies are placed in context in the light of the history of the ‘Great Tradition’ in adult education which, from early on, built upon a range of influences, including idealism, Christian Socialism, and Quakerism. In the light of this history, the success or failure of New Labour’s adult education policies in meeting the objectives of a socially inclusive and valued society, where lifelong participation exists that supports and facilitates both liberal and vocational adult education, are assessed. The conclusion is drawn that many of those in their third age lead varied lifestyles and enjoy their free time, despite considerable demands made upon them by family, neighbours and the wider community. Most recognise the importance of health maintenance, and, reflecting the need for physical enhancement, many in their third age are willing to continue in employment where essential. Militating against such categorical expectations, however, is the wish of many that retirement should bring with it, the opportunity for freedom and choice. In the case of adult learning, from this research a conclusion is drawn that third age participation is sometimes continuous and inclusive, and, on occasion, recognises the need to preserve cognitive agility. Whilst many older people are not entirely averse to engaging in formal methods of learning, this PhD indicated how many were opposed to the way that New Labour’s policy priorities precluded public funding for all but vocational studies. Others were reticent about the need to sit examinations, preferring instead that adult education should provide the opportunity to indulge in liberal and recreational learning that challenges accepted norms and interpretations, enhances newly developing enthusiasms, and/or rekindles previously latent hobbies and interests.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Education and Older Learners: Politics and Experience 1997-2010
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1572336
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