Beautiful floral design by WEA students

This is some of the beautiful work our students have produced in the Floral design – getting ready for Christmas course. Each week of the course has a different theme, and students offer their own interpretation of it.


Student success: Aboriginal art

Here is some of the wonderful work our students have made in one of our art classes, Drawing and painting the multicultural way. You can click on the thumbnail to see the paintings in detail.


If you would like to join us for some practical art this class will be running again in the spring term – please keep an eye on this website for further details, or contact us on 01332 291805 or for a brochure.

Student success: Geology

The geology class on a Wednesday morning is proving very popular among our students.

Students enjoying a geology class at WEA Derby

Students enjoying a geology class at WEA Derby

We will be running another geology class in the spring term – keep your eyes on this website for further information, or request a brochure on 01332 291805 or

Norman Cornish: the last Pitmen Painter dies aged 94

Norman Cornish the last surviving Pitmen Painter has died aged 94. The story of the Pitmen Painters is a remarkable one and is now portrayed in the play The Pitmen Painters by Lee Hall. This play has recently been on national tour and was met with critical acclaim.

Norman Cornish

Norman Cornish

The Pitmen  Painters have an important place in WEA history and we are very proud of our association with them. The group grew from a WEA course run by the WEA Ashington Branch and Durham University. Taught by painter and tutor Robert Lyons (1894-1978) the group were mainly miners from the local area and had no formal artistic training.  The group and its work became celebrated in the British art world in the 1930s and 1940s. However, their story, work and philosophy has far more significance than just the sum of their art work. Theirs is a fascinating story.

Read about them in William Feaver’s book: Pitmen Painters: The Ashington Group 1934-1984

More information and images of the group’s paintings

Hall’s play is well worth seeing if you ever have the opportunity.

RIP Norman

Miners on the Pit Road, oil on board, by Norman Cornish

Miners on the Pit Road, oil on board, by Norman Cornish

Student success: Lift your spirit in song

The students in the WEA singing group have recorded some of the songs they sang during the last course. To listen, please click here.

A new term of the singing course starts in September 2014. If you would like to join us in song just contact the WEA office on 01332 291805 or email us on

We hope you enjoy listening to this beautiful music as much as the group enjoy singing!

Autumn 2014 brochure out now

The new WEA brochure, with details of courses in Derby and Derbyshire is now available. It includes guidance for enrolling on-line.

If you are a WEA student and have not received your brochure through the post or via email, please contact the Derby office on 01332 291 805 and we will send one to you.

You will also find the brochure on-line at

You can enrol on-line via

WEA Manifesto

The WEA is the largest voluntary sector provider of adult education in the UK. This manifesto sets out the WEA’s thoughts on how to improve education ahead of the 2015 General Election. Please click here to read the full document.


Fantastic feedback from Inspiring Derby Week workshops

We recently held a range of workshops at the Mill for Inspiring Derby Week 2014, and this is some of the feedback we got:

“Really good to get a taste of what WEA offers”

 “Fascinating content (Hebrew) which has made me want to explore more”

 “I now think I know what sort of tablet I will buy (iPads)”

 “I’ve wanted to do lacemaking for years – I hope the course runs in September”

 “Really good to ‘discover’  the  WEA”

 “I’ve learned something new  –  a new technique”

 “It was great – very satisfying to get absorbed in something so quickly and have an end result”

“Lovely tutor”

“Really good to know you are here”

 “An excellent day – when are you doing another one?!”

 “Loads to think about and find out more about when I get home“

We are very pleased that the workshops were so well received and hope this inspires you to check out our courses starting in September. Our full brochure can downloaded as a PDF here.

Ofsted says WEA “Good”

Here’s the WEA’s media  release about our recent Ofsted inspection:


Ofsted, the official regulator of standards in schools and colleges in England, has rated the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) “Good” in all areas of inspection.

The WEA is the UK’s largest provider of adult community learning, delivering “stimulating and interesting sessions” to a “broad cultural mix” of over 74,000 students.

The report by Ofsted highlighted that “many students benefit from programmes that give them the knowledge, skills and confidence to volunteer within their community” and that the WEA helps “improve the life chances of disadvantaged communities and individuals” across England. It also said that students “improve their personal, social and employability skills as a result of attending classes”.

Ofsted’s inspection praised the organisation for skilfully managing good education over a large area and in a multitude of community settings. It states that “a key strength of the organisation has been, and continues to be, the strong historical bond that exists between employees and volunteer members of the organisation”.

In welcoming the report, Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of the WEA, said:

“I am delighted Ofsted has independently confirmed that we give high quality support to help students back into learning as well as take advanced courses, seize cultural opportunities and develop work-related skills.

“The WEA may be over 100 years old but is still as relevant today as ever. Our research shows 71 per cent of students in work gained skills that could be used in a job, while 75 per cent of those unemployed felt more confident about finding a job in the future. 93 per cent also said courses helped them make new friends. We are helping to change lives and inspire communities across the country, which is vital for our economy and society.

“The WEA is the only national adult education provider and has classes in over 95 per cent of local authority areas, with four times more students than the biggest outstanding provider in the further education and skills sector. We are committed to bringing great teaching and learning into every local community. We know education can transform lives and this report is a tremendous boost for our students, tutors, volunteers and staff across the country.”

To view the full report, visit