featured articles: informal education, lifelong learning and social action


current issues and questions for informal educators and social activists




Throwing out the balance with the bathwater

Michael Newman argues for the jettisoning of the concept of balance in adult education.

'Balance' allows the teacher to adopt an amoral or even immoral stance; to refuse to take sides even in the face of the unpleasant, the gross and the unjust.

previous talking points


Too many, too few - the retreat from vocation. Tony Jeffs argues that in recent years face-to-face work has been devalued and constrained; policymakers have opted for quantity over quality in terms of workers; and the need for vocation and calling has been sidelined.

Threatening youth revisited - youth polices under new labour. Bernard Davies revisits Threatening Youth and its thesis that during the late 1970s and 1980s ‘a coherent and centrally controlled youth policy’ had ’gradually but in many respects knowingly been developed.

Youth matters - the English green paper on youth services. Mark Smith explores the main proposals of the English ‘Green Paper for youth’ – Youth Matters - and highlight some of the key issues and problems arising from it.

What future for youth work? The new English five year strategy for children and learners. In July 2004 the Department for Education and Skills published its strategy. Here we reproduce the key section dealing with youth services - and discuss some of the key issues arising.