About the WEA

The Workers' Educational Association is a voluntary organisation run by its students and volunteers and is one of the UK’s biggest charities. It was formed in 1903 to support the education of working people and has developed into a nationwide educational provider catering for all interested adults.

The WEA is supported by the Government through funding from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in England. It also raise funds nationally and regionally, from a variety of other sources including the European Union and the National Lottery.


Our vision is to be the recognised voice of adult learners, and the leading provider of adult and community learning in the UK by any standard.


The WEA is a 21st Century, democratic, voluntary adult education movement, committed to widening participation and to enabling people to realise their full potential through learning.


To involve learners, volunteers, members and other partners in:

  • Influencing and campaigning on behalf of adult learners
  • Removing barriers to learning
  • Being responsive in the heart of communities
  • Making the most effective use of all our resources
  • Promoting learning for life
  • Changing and enriching lives through learning – at individual and community levels
  • Promoting adult education worldwide


  • Creating equality and opportunity, and challenging discrimination
  • Believing in people, communities and their potential to change through Education
  • Putting the learner at the centre of everything we do
  • Challenging and questioning ourselves

The WEA operates at three levels: 

The WEA National Association is governed by its trustees who form the Association Committee (AC). It employs a General Secretary and a team of managerial, finance, and administrative staff at the Corporate Services headquarters in London. The AC is concerned with policy making, policy implementation, and relationships with major funding bodies.

There are nine English Regions and a Scottish Association.  Southern Region covers Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey and Kent. It is governed by its voluntary members through the Regional Committee. The Regional Office is in Rochester in Kent.

Reading Branch is one of just over one hundred in WEA Southern Region. Like all of them, it is a vital part of the organisation because it is community based and in an ideal position to make local links, to look for what local people want, and to act as a resource it’s community. It is also the basis of WEA democracy.

There is a proud tradition of voluntary and democratic practice within the Association. At Branch, Regional and National levels, voluntary members are involved in the planning and provision of courses, as well as the governance of the Association itself.

The WEA Branch

Branches are the bedrock of WEA General Programme provision. They are governed by a constitution and run by voluntary officers and committee. Every Branch is supported by a member of staff – a Tutor Organiser – who job it is to support and assist branches in their activities.
All Branches are keen to encourage new Committee members - they often ask members of their classes to consider getting involved in their Branch. This can be an interesting and rewarding commitment to make.

Reading considers itself a happy and democratic Committee where everyone plays a part, shares the workload and enjoys contributing to the success of the Branch. Doing things together makes some jobs more fun and more of a social event. We’re aware that some people can do more than their fair share of the work and that it is a good idea is to make sure that no Officer has to hold their position for too long and that responsibilities are rotated where possible. To this end we’re instigating an ongoing process to bring in new Committee, sub group and one off project members.

The Branch Committee

A Branch can operate with just three Committee members but it helps if the responsibilities can be shared with more people. The Committee has to:

  • plan a programme of courses to meet the needs of it’s community
  • find and book accommodation and equipment for it’s classes
  • publicise it’s programme
  • recruit students
  • liaise with it’s tutors
  • liaise with it’s Tutor Organiser
  • look after each class
  • arrange for administrative tasks to be done. including collecting fees, collecting enrolment forms, distributing WEA literature, returning payments and papers to Regional Office.
  • complete an annual financial return.