Keeping in Touch with Learners – CDETB Ballyfermot

Like many Adult Literacy Organisers around the country Siobhan and the tutoring team in Ballyfermot in Dublin City are getting creative to keep in touch with learners during the Covid19 closures.  This magazine has been distributed to all learners to help keep in touch and work on skills during this time.

Click below to read the magazine

CDETB AES Ballyfermot Magazine March 2020 (1)

ALOs have been busy!

These extraordinary times have called for extraordinary responses and ALOs and tutors around the country have stepped up to meet the challenge. Here is a snapshot of all the ways in which we have been engaging with our learners, and some observations and challenges experienced by all of us during this time. This has been a solution driven, positive response with a huge array of methods of communication and delivery on show. A big thank you to all of you involved in this. We will post some links to resources shortly.

Here’s a summary of the main engagement:

Clare Family Learning – Home School Ideas

Thank you to Mary Flanagan of Clare Family Learning for sharing their ideas for help with home schooling. The website has links to a range of resources for primary and secondary school children, as well as for parents themselves. Have a look at the website here : https://clarefamilylearning.org/parents/home-schooling-ideas/

ALOA/CEFA Collaborative Conference Galway Bay Hotel



The ALOA/CEFA Collaborative Conference took place in the Galway Bay Hotel in November 2019. Supported by Solas and ETBI, the theme of the event was ‘Valuing and Evaluating Non-formal and Informal Learning‘. We had in the region of 100 delegates in attendance, with representation from Adult Literacy Organisers, Community Education Facilitators as well as Solas and ETBI.

The conference covered key aspects of non-formal and informal learning from policy to practice, highlighting the value of learning and showcasing current tools and methodologies which measure the value of such learning on people’s lives.

Experts from Ireland and Europe spoke at the event including Roisin Doherty, SOLAS, Micheal Kenny, Maynooth University and Mai Timmi, Department of Education, Estonia. The Learner Voice was represented by Community Education and Adult Literacy learners from GRETB, and the positive experience returning to education with ETBs was showcased.

ALOA AGM 2019 Celebrating 20 years

The ALOA had their annual AGM in Piper’s Hill on 9th May, 2019. At the AGM, following the Secretary and Treasurer’s reports, we thanked Tara Kelly and Margot Walsh for their outstanding work on the Executive and welcomed new members, Aidan McCloskey and Kevin Kelly. Alison Jones, as Chair, thanked all members of the Executive for their hard work over the year and briefed all ALOs present on the activities of the ALOA Executive and the national position regarding associations. The exemplary work of Marian Lynch, Adult Literacy National Co-ordinator, was also acknowledged and a presentation made to Ciarán Lynch on her behalf. There were no resolutions this year. For the first time Mentimeter was used to ask ALOS to best describe their role. Here is the result:

The event marked our 20 year anniversary as an association so was followed by a celebration of our success with presentations from ALOs past and present. Frances Ward and Pat Ayton presented their short history of Adult Literacy Provision and the foundation of the ALOA from the early days, explaining step by step all the events that have led up to the present day Literacy Service. A copy of their short book was distributed and is available to download.

Four other presentations detailed areas of success across the country and included:

  • Family Learning, Mary Flanagan LCETB
  • ESOL, Michael Donohoe, CMETB
  • Integrating Literacy and TEL for Apprentice Support, Alison Jones, GRETB,
  • Finally, A History of Adult Literacy in Donegal, presented by Adele McElhinney, captivated the audience with this short video:
Student Learning Journey

Student Profile (Male aged between 50 & 60)

Richard suffered from depression for many years he was attending a psychologist who encouraged him to go to the local literacy service to address his literacy difficulties this was 2012. He was extremely nervous at the first initial meeting and he started in one to one tuition. Richard really enjoyed working with his tutor one to one but it was obvious he had better literacy skills than he thought and so he was encouraged to progress into group tuition.


This was another big step for Richard – going into a group class. He attended a Basic English class with a number of other men and they all just clicked as a group. In fact Richard got very friendly with some of his class mates and progressed a weekly game of golf outside of the centre. He then attended an ITABE group where he was introduced to maths for the first time. Richard found he had an aptitude for maths he didn’t even know he had. In fact Richard was working out maths problems on a daily basis in his work as a building contractor so he was familiar with angles, fractions, measurement etc. Up to this point all the courses were unaccredited.


The next step was achieving accreditation. So in September 2013 Richard started Junior Certificate Foundation Level English class and Level 3 Maths class in which he was very successful obtaining a B in Junior Cert English and getting his QQI Level 3 certificate in Maths.


September 2014 saw more challenges for Richard he started a QQI Level 4 Maths and a two year Leaving Cert English programme. The plan was for Richard to sit his Junior Cert Ordinary English exam in year 1 and to sit the Leaving cert English exam in year 2. He also agreed to partake in the TV3 documentary series ‘Getting the Numbers Write’ During the first half of the year Richard appeared on breakfast time TV, national radio with Pat Kenny and in the local papers.


By June 2015 Richard had achieved and a C grade in Junior Cert ordinary level English and a QQI Level 4 certificate in Maths. At this stage this was as far as the Adult learning service could bring Richard in terms of his Maths and although Richard wanted to sit the leaving Cert in Maths all the BTEI programmes were during the day and this didn’t suit Richard as he worked full time.


Finally in June 2016 Richard achieved his goal of obtaining his dream of passing his Leaving Cert English exam – achieving a C1. He was over the moon he was the first member of his family to sit the leaving cert.


In November 2016 Richard achieved his long term goal to train as a One to One tutor. Richard successfully attended the initial tutor training programme and was looking forward to starting with a student in 2017. Unfortunately Richard hasn’t managed to start tutoring yet as he has ongoing health problems which prevented him from getting started.


LMETB QQI Awards & Charity Event

LMETB ALS QQI Awards Ceremony was held in the Ardboyne Hotel, Navan on the 14th December. €533.00 was raised for St. Vincent De Paul from donations made for crafts made by the learners from the “Trash to Cash” module. This non-accredited module was introduced earlier this year as part of a preparation for work course. It is designed to encourage entrepreneurship. Learners had to research ideas on the internet, plan, design, source and cost materials, work out profit margins etc. along with marketing and sales strategies. In addition, items were donated by the local St. Vincent De Paul shop that were “worse for wear” and unable to be sold. The learners took these and transformed them. Likewise, they used ordinary household items such as jam jars etc., decorated and remodeled them as candle/tea light holders for table decorations.

LMETB – A Moment in Time Book Launch

A Moment in Time is a collection of writings penned by a local group of remarkable women: Bridget McDonnell, Mary Joyce, Noeleen Nevin, Winnie Collins, Marie Collins, Ellen Nevin and Julia McDonnell.

Their stories depict an array of memories of past times and the people who influenced and impacted on their lives. The reader is drawn into their world and through this come to know the characters, their surroundings, faith and values and their great sense of pride of being a Traveller.

The book was officially launched in the Ardboyne hotel, Navan on Wednesday 14th December by Ms. Imelda Prunty, Adult Education Officer with LMETB. Ms. Prunty congratulated the ladies on their tremendous achievement.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Mary Joyce outlined the background to the writing, selecting and compiling of the pieces for the book. On behalf of the ladies she acknowledged their tutor Ms. Clare Rogan, Ms. Mairead Kennedy and Ms. Bernie McKevitt for their help and support in putting the book together.

Featured in photo:

Back row Left to Right: Marie Collins, Ellen Nevin, Winnie Collins
Front Row, Left to Right: Noeleen Nevin, Julia McDonnell, Mary Joyce, Bridget McDonnell

MSLETB: Innovative Responses to Referrals from DSP

In February 2016, MSLETB met with DSP to explore ways to refer clients who had low levels of education or very little formal education. Through discussion, it emerged that there were very few courses for men who wanted a job. They didn’t want to study or return to education. If this group were to be engaged, it would have to be a ‘Hands On’ practical course.

The Adult Learning and Education Centre looked at apprenticeship courses at Level 5/6 that were offered in Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim. It was felt that many who applied for apprenticeships didn’t have enough grounding in maths to complete the apprenticeship phases successfully. Level 5 and 6 was a step too far for many who left school with little or no formal education.

We decided to bridge the gap between what was offered at Level 5/6 and to offer a pre-apprenticeship level. Many learners were afraid of maths but were interested in practical subjects so ALEC combined Maths QQI level 3 (3N0929) with Electrical skills QQI Level 3 (3N0527).

We started this in April 2016 and ran it until July 2016 for 6 hours per week Mondays 2-5pm and Thursdays 2-5pm for 14 weeks and based it on the ITABE model. We aimed at recruiting 6-8 men but sixteen men signed up. Twelve completed the course with two gaining employment during the course.

The class combined Maths and Electrical skills rather than having set times and days for each module. Sometimes Electrical skills were first up, followed by maths and on other days the reverse happened, depending on the particular objectives for the tutorial.

Students learned the basic concepts of electricity by taking a plug apart. Another lesson given was where two lemons, a few coins and a few nails were connected together to make a simple ‘lemon battery’ which in turn was used to power a simple kitchen clock/timer. (The tutor got a clap when the clock was seen to be working from ‘lemon power’). This simple experiment appeared to captivate students and the range of questions arising from this set the tone for the course.

Electronic kits were used and allowed the students to test different circuits that were drawn and discussed on the whiteboard. In addition to the electronic kit, students were shown a number of experiments from an ‘electricity and magnetism’ kit. This kit demonstrated the key role in /electricity and electronics.

On the maths side, there were lots of discussions on topical items, economy, budgets etc. while data collection was a practical experience where students carried out a survey of cars and the findings were examined with great interest.

Every student was very interested in electrical skills so attendance was guaranteed in the class from the outset. Students gained confidence; there was energy in the class with many questions being asked. There was integration between different nationalities with everyone helping each other. By combining subjects, boredom and lack of interest was never a problem.

Ten of the twelve have gone on to Level 4 electronics.


electronics_kit3              magnetism_kit_box