In 2000 the trustees of Maclntyre agreed to the creation of a new division to promote formal education and attainment for service users throughout the organisation. The initiative was established encompassing existing services and creating new ones in view of lifelong learning. This whole initiative was underpinned by Maclntyre’s historical stand on promoting the concept of each person with a disability having a ‘purposeful life’ in addition to and more important than having a comfortable place to live; moreover, by the belief that everyone has the ability to learn.
‘Traditionally, people with learning disabilities have had few opportunities for participating in continuing education of any kind. We believe that this is the key to offering better quality life experiences. So the Education and Attainment Division has been created with the responsibility of bringing Lifelong Learning to people with learning disabilities.’
The Ring, March 2000
“We had, for the first time ever, I think, a formalised strategy around the concept of lifelong learning. Now, I say a formalised strategy because that’s what MacIntyre has always been about, if you look at how and why it was originally set up. It was in a direct challenge to this horrendous notion that people were ineducable. So there has always been this ethos of ‘people can learn’, so this [initiative] was trying to formalize that to the benefit of the lifelong learning services for adults.”
Emma Killick, Adult Services Director, in interview in 2014