Although we are coming out of lockdown, many people are still experiencing a degree of social isolation. For those with too much time on their hands at home or wanting to meet friendly teachers and fellow-learners, one solution is to do some online learning – or to continue and expand on what you started during lockdown.

The WEA “providing high-quality educational opportunities to the community since 1903”, has just launched its autumn programme of online courses. Some courses start as soon as 6th August, others start on dates throughout August and September. 

Courses are usually run at a local level, but with online access only, there is now a huge range of courses to choose from on the national site (some of these are run by tutors local to Hastings and Bexhill). Looking online,  I found 198 courses in Arts and Crafts alone! 

For people wanting to dip a toe in the water, there are courses lasting just one or two sessions of a couple of hours each. Other courses last up to 12 sessions. Some courses are free, and nearly all are subsidised by the government to keep prices low (and even then, they can be free to people in receipt of income-related benefits). 

There’s a wide range of topics from Family History and Gardening in a Small Space (one or two sessions) to Advanced French and International Relations, both of which run for longer. For those with more time, – Beauty Top to Toe starts on 10th September. Whether you want to learn a new skill or extend your knowledge, there is something for everyone.

The WEA has a special mission to raise aspirations and develop educational opportunities for the most disadvantaged including: basic maths, English and IT skills for employment; courses to improve health and wellbeing; creative programmes to broaden horizons and community engagement; and activities that encourage active citizenship. 

Booking online is open now so take a peek at what’s on offer at Speedy registration is advised. And don’t be put off if you have shaky IT skills, the WEA make access easy using Zoom, and sends all students clear and simple instructions. 

n  WEA is one of three national programmes of learning that offer a wide range of courses either free or at very reasonable prices. The other two are University of the Third Age ( and FutureLearn ( They all differ in certain respects and overlap in others: For example, U3A is aimed at people who have finished working full-time or raising their family and have time to pursue their interests; FutureLearn courses are run by universities or industry experts and come with certificates. A new programme, Skills Toolkit (, was launched in April this year to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying
at home

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