I've just got home from attending and speaking at WEA North West Region's AGM in Manchester. That's my third regional AGM in three weeks since WEA Conference. One more to go next week in Nottingham before reporting to Association Committee.
Another enjoyable day with very welcoming colleagues. This was combined with some excellent discussions and presentations. A really inspirational TRIP project linking the WEA in Accrington and Bury with Uganda was fascinating. It is really striking how far NW has gone in trying to integrate WEA values and curriculum principles throughout its provision. They'd be first to say more to do but it's great to meet new staff so keen to apply these ideas in their work.
Once again I was asking views on the development of of Membership, Volunteering and Marketing in the WEA and, once again, points were made that really helped - and I probably should have thought of myself. There's no doubt that the WEA is going through a bit of a resurgence in its own democracy and debate. All three AGMs have had a positive atmosphere combined with a determination around social purpose education, the importance of our work being shaped from the ground up and a desire to build communication, up and down the organisation and laterally.
I've been adding ideas to the draft strategy as I go along and there were several more today. For example, I was asked why the WEA doesn't appear in a Google search against qualifications we offer when we often have lower fees than other providers. Not the usual 'distinctiveness of WEA provision' point but a really sensible question on how we place ourselves in a market and help adult learners find us.
Because several WEA regions have AGMs on the same Saturdays in November, there are five I've missed in England as well as Scotland. I hope I'll be able to find ways to meet these other colleagues in the New Year.