FAQs

  1. 1
    Where are the centres?

    We have three main learning centres located in Walthamstow and  Leytonstone. Information sessions and many of our courses are run from these centres. Find details here






  2. 2
    How do I find the right course?

    There are three steps to finding a course:

    1. Have a good look through our course finder
    2. Once you’ve seen the course you’re interested in read all of the course information and enrol online
    3. If you need more assistance, visit one of our helpful information sessions where you can talk to our friendly staff about the courses you are interested in

    Changes and additions to the programme are made throughout the year.






  3. 3
    What are information sessions?

    We run regular information sessions throughout the year. This is an opportunity for you to ask our lecturers and staff questions about all our courses. We can give you advice about qualifications, progression routes (what to do after your course) and preparation for employment.

    For some courses, you need to have your skills and knowledge assessed to ensure that they are the right level for the course. You can have your skills and knowledge assessed at our information and assessment sessions.

    We run general information sessions, English and maths information sessions and ESOL information sessions. For venues, dates and time please see the Information Sessions page.






  4. 4
    How to book onto a course?

    You can book in person, over the phone or by post. For postal enrolments you will need to complete an Enrolment Form and send it to us with your payment by cheque.

    You can also book in person at one of our learning centres.

    Please note: For some courses, you need to be interviewed or assessed before enrolling. The course information sheet will tell you if you need to be assessed.






  5. 5
    Is there a discount for early booking?

    From time to time we offer a 10% discount on bookings made before certain dates. To find out more information sign up to our mailing list for alerts, join us on Facebook or Twitter, or check the website regularly. 






  6. 6
    How much do I pay?

    Adults in receipt of state benefits

    Courses are free up to Level 2 if you’re unemployed, looking for work, or earn less than £330 per month and are in receipt of a means tested benefit (excluding child benefit). You will need to sign a form stating that you are looking for a job and provide evidence of the benefit you receive to qualify for a government fully funded course.

    Funding rules are complicated and we cannot list every fee therefore some courses may be exempt from this offer. Discounted fees may apply in some cases.

    Standard fee

    This is for anybody who is not in receipt of a state benefit and does not qualify for the discounted fee.

    Exam or certificate fees

    On some courses there is a fee for an exam or to be awarded a certificate when coursework has been completed. This fee is set by the awarding body that sets the exam or checks work before issuing a certificate.

    Materials fee

    For some courses you might need to pay an additional cost towards basic materials provided by us.

    Working tax credits

    Our Learner Support Fund helps those on Working Tax Credits to pay their course fees. The Council pays up to 70% of your fees. Other help with some course related costs may also be available. See our website for details or contact any of our main centres.






  7. 7
    What’s a standard fee?

    Standard fee

    This is for anybody who is not in receipt of a state benefit and does not qualify for the discounted fee.






  8. 8
    What’s a discounted fee?

    Our discounted fee is for Home learners on a listed income based benefit or the dependant of someone in receipt of one of these benefits:

    Listed income based benefits:

    • Pension Credit
    • Income Support
    • Working Tax Credit with household income below £16,105
    • Child Tax Credit with household income below £16,105
    • Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
    • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Universal Credit (UI)
    • Housing Benefit

    You need to bring proof of entitlement when you book in person at one of our centres. When you book by telephone or online you need to provide proof of entitlement within 7 days of booking, to show our administrative staff.






  9. 9
    What’s an accreditation fee

    On some courses as well as your course fee, there is a fee for accreditation. This is to cover the cost of the qualification attached to a course.  Accreditation fees are shown in the course finder under Additional fees.  Help with accreditation fees may also be available, contact any of our main centres for more information.






  10. 10
    Are there additional costs?

    For some practical courses you need to pay an additional cost towards basic materials provided by us. This cost is shown under the materials column next to each course listing. For many practical courses you may have to buy further materials during the course. Please do not buy anything before your first session unless you are asked to on the course information sheet.

    For some courses you may also have to pay for textbooks, materials or consumables. Where possible you will be told about this on the course information sheet. Help with some course related costs may be available.






  11. 11
    What are Non-Home learners (overseas / international fee)?

    If you are not a Home learner you have to pay the full fee for all courses. Additional costs for examination and materials may apply. You need to pay all these fees when you enrol for your course. Visit or phone our main centres for more details.






  12. 12
    Do you offer refunds?

    A refund will only be given if your course is closed. Learners withdrawing from a course are not entitled to a refund. In some cases we can allow learners to transfer the balance of their payment for a course to another course in the same academic year.






  13. 13
    Do you offer free English and Maths courses for adults?

    Yes. These part-time courses help you improve your English and maths and gain a nationally recognised qualification – from beginners to GCSE.

    Courses are available daytime and evening. All English and maths courses are FREE if you do not already have English or maths GCSE grade A*-C and have lived in the United Kingdom or the European Economic Area (EEA) continuously for 3 years.

    Before you enrol we need to assess your level of English or maths so we can tell you which course is best for you. This will take at least one hour. Please do not bring young children with you as they may get bored and distract you or other learners. English and maths courses start in September and February.






  14. 14
    What help with learning do you offer?

    If you have a health problem or disability that could affect your learning, please let us know. We can give you extra support to help you successfully complete your course. We would like to give you the support you need as soon as possible, so please give as much information as you can when you book on your course. You can also speak to your lecturer or centre staff at any time during your course.






  15. 15
    Do you need help with childcare?

    For some government approved courses on which learners are enrolled, Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service may be able to provide support for childcare for children under 2 years old. This applies where a learner is in receipt of working tax credit and currently earns less than £16,105 a year or where a learner has older children who receive free school meals.  For more information, please contact on of our main centres.

    The council’s Waltham Forest Childcare team can give you information and advice about different types of childcare available in Waltham Forest. This includes the Free Childcare entitlements for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

    For more information or if you would like to speak to someone, please contact the Childcare Team or look at the useful websites below:

    Childcare Team

    Tel:       020 8496 3566
    Email:  education@walthamforest.gov.uk

    Useful websites

    Free Early Education and Childcare for 2 year olds

    Free Early Education and Childcare for 3 and 4 year olds

    Eligibility checking for Free Early Education for 2 year olds and Early Years Pupil Premium

    Search for Ofsted registered childcare providers in your area






  16. 16
    What’s a social fund?

    Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service has a small social fund which can assist learners on a limited number of government approved courses leading to qualifications. This is available to learners who can demonstrate financial hardship. This includes learners on a listed income based benefit or those on a household income below £23,000.

    Help may be available for course fees, childcare costs, course books and materials, examination fees and accreditation costs. Contact any of our main centres for further details.






  17. 17
    Do you support equal opportunities?

    Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service, as part of Waltham Forest Council, is committed to the active promotion of equality of opportunity, valuing and celebrating diversity and challenging and eliminating discrimination. We work hard to provide local people, communities and employers with high quality learning opportunities and to increase the number of learners from under-represented groups and areas.






  18. 18
    How do you keep learners safe?

    Waltham Forest Adult Learning Service is committed to providing an environment where all learners feel safe and comfortable to study – free from bullying, or any other lack of respect. If you become aware of situations about which you feel uncomfortable please contact any of our staff who will discuss this with you.

    The service also has an important role to play in supporting parents who may be concerned that their children or other relatives are at risk of being radicalised and drawn into extremist causes. If you are worried that someone you know may be at risk, then please speak to any member of our staff or telephone Waltham Forest’s Community Safety Team on 020 8496 3000.






  19. 19
    How do you pay for your course?

    You will need to pay course fees and any additional fees for accreditation or materials when you book your course.

    You can pay

    • In person by visiting any of our main centres
    • By telephone using a credit or debit card
    • By post, sending us a cheque or postal order with your booking form to any of our main centres (Do not send cash through the post).






  20. 20
    Are you able to support learners with additional learning support and/or access needs?

    A range of additional learning support is available for learners in the service. This includes support with English, maths, dyslexia and assistive technology. We have a wide range of equipment and software available. In some cases we can provide learning support assistants, including communicators.

    Most centres are now fully accessible. In the few cases where this is not the case every effort will be made to relocate a class for a learner when necessary.
    Please let us know about your additional support needs as soon as possible before the course starts so that we can provide support for you  at the start of the course. You can can do this by detailing your support needs on your  enrolment form, discussing this at an information session, or by talking to a member of the administrative team.
     
    For some examinations, learners with slow processing speeds and/or dyslexia can apply to have additional time. You need to discuss this thoroughly with your lecturer at the beginning of the course. If you have a slow processing speed or dyslexia, you need to take a formal assessment and then follow an action plan to support you in improving your skills.






  21. 21
    Do I have to take the examination? I just want to do the course.

    When you  enrol on a course to which an examination or accreditation is attached, you  are required to enter for the accreditation. Achieving recognised national qualifications is very rewarding and is a help when applying for jobs or just evidencing the skills you have gained.

    Most accredited courses are heavily subsidised by the government and organisations like ours are penalised when learners do not take the accreditation.  This can jeopardise future funding and may mean that we are no longer able to offer these courses.

    Where you  do not submit assignments for accreditation or sit an examination, we reserve the right to refuse to enrol you on any future courses.






  22. 22
    What can I do if I am not satisfied with the service I receive?

    We do try to resolve any issues you have as quickly and smoothly as possible. Please speak to your lecturer or any other member of staff as soon as you can. If you feel that your complaint has not been dealt with properly, then you can e-mail Adult.Learning@walthamforest.gov.uk or make a complaint in person, by letter or by phone to a member of the front-line staff at one of our centres. This will then be dealt with within the guidelines of the Council’s complaints procedure. Copies of this are available from our three main centres.

    We can learn valuable lessons from complaints which help improve our service for everyone.






  23. 23
    Do you have quiet spaces and computers where I can study in my own time?

    The service has a very small number of computers at which learners can study independently at the Leyton Neighbourhood Learning Centre and at Queens Road Learning Centre.

    If you do not have a computer at home or need somewhere quiet to work, please use one of the council’s seven libraries.  The borough’s library service has recently upgraded all their public computers and increased the number of terminals available free for use by the public.  The libraries are across the whole borough and have much longer opening hours than any of our centres.