Welcome to WEA South West

We cover a very large geographical area, stretching from Lands End, Cornwall in the West, along the south coast to Bournemouth, Dorset, east to Swindon and Wiltshire, and north to Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire and the Forest of Deane on the border with Wales.

In the South West of England, the WEA manages its work and activities across five areas; each led by a manager and supported by local branch volunteers and staff as well as regional staff and voluntary members.

Founded in 1903, the WEA is a charity dedicated to bringing high-quality, professional education into the heart of communities. With the support of nearly 3,000 volunteers, 2,000 tutors and over 10,000 members, we deliver friendly, accessible, and enjoyable courses for adults from all walks of life.

We’re not like most other providers across the South West – we bring the education to you and it takes place where you can access it; either in your own local meeting places or online – Adult Learning Within Reach.

We are also different in that since our formation, over a century ago, it is the students and local people interested in education who work out professional staff to plan what courses are available. This is done either through  our volunteer-led local branches and groups, through our regional network of members,  or through our many partnerships with local community organisations who represent the needs of different groups in our society, including migrant organisations, housing associations, children’s centres, schools and health and welfare organisations.  
We try and ensure that we have a range of provision that meets the requirements of all adults, and to do this we plan courses and programmes to meet what individual or groups want. This means that we provide learning opportunities in a large range of subjects from Art Appreciation and Practical Crafts to History and Literature, from English and Maths to Teacher Training and Creative Writing, and lots more in between. These courses can be linked to exams and certification but more often have no formal assessment. They are planned around the following areas:

  •  Adults into employment
  • Confidence for learning, life and work
  • In-job progression 
  • Mental or physical health and wellbeing 
  • Broadening horizons and tackling social exclusion
  • Active citizens and vibrant communities

Some of our local venues and branches produce their own brochures: simply go to the brochures page and click to download a copy or browse on our courses page.

To book online, simply call our support centre on 0300 303 3464 or pop your postcode into the search box at the bottom of this page. You can also search for the course reference number (beginning with C) to find and book the course.

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