A group of adults sitting around a table with papers, engaged in continuing education at Katherine Low Settlement.

Katherine Low Settlement – Continuing With Adult Learning In These Strange Times


Background to the Kathrine Low Settlement

The Katherine Low Settlement (KLS) is a charity that has been serving Battersea and the wider Wandsworth community since 1924 and is dedicated to building stronger communities and enabling people to challenge and find ways out of poverty and isolation.

KLS run a range of its own community projects to support children, young people and their families, older people and refugee communities. It also works in partnership with many other expert local charities and community groups and invites them to operate from their Centre. Together as partners they can meet the diverse needs of the local communities of Wandsworth.

Through these partnerships, more than 1,000 people are supported each week – this being done with the help of over 331 volunteers across the partnerships, who support the work of all the groups.

KLS is also involved with the Battersea Coronavirus Angels which is a partnership to help local vulnerable residents with shopping, picking up their prescriptions, providing emotional support and more.  Two weeks in to the lockdown, The Angels recruited over 300 volunteers and have helped 100+ people so far.

Partnership with Wandsworth Council Lifelong Learning (WCLL)

Through its partnership with Wandsworth Council Lifelong Learning, KLS extended the adult learning opportunities for the community for whom English is a second language.  KLS already ran a number of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes through other partnerships but wanted to extend opportunities for learning other skills that would help adults support their children in learning and also place them in a better position to gain employment. KLS support this learning by providing creche places for those learners who have young children.

Since September, KLS has been running the following, in partnership with WCLL:

  • Maths at Entry 1/2/3
  • Maths at Level1/2
  • Short ICT courses
  • Introduction to Early Years for ESOL learners

What’s been happening since lockdown?

 In the knowledge that the KLS community venue would have to close its doors, staff at the Centre ensured they had a phone number for each learner and also discovered from learners what kind of digital device they may have access to.  This was important to help with their strategy to continue with support for all learners.

KLS was keen to maintain continuity for adult learners by offering sessions at the same times as they had taken place at the Centre.  This remote learning is provided through a number of different sources:

  • Zoom learning platform
  • Whatsapp
  • Phone calls
  • Google classroom
  • Email contact

The virtual learning group sessions tend to be smaller than the face-to-face sessions where there was an average of 12 learners.  As all learners have mobile phones, WhatsApp is used to provide 1:1 support.  Those learners who cannot easily access the virtual classrooms are sent worksheets which are completed and returned to their tutor for feedback.  Some of the learners on the higher-level maths course were keen to take accreditation at the end of the Summer term, as some of them want to take part in further study in September.  The practicalities of being able to undertake exams online is an area that KLS and WCLL will continue to explore.

What we are learning from this:

  • It has been good for children to see their parents learning
  • Sometimes whole families (including dad) join in with the sessions
  • Learners are being very patient with their tutor’s use of the technology and recognise that their tutor is also learning
  • Attendance at the group sessions can be affected by the situation
  • As many learners are also home-schooling children, it sometimes becomes an adult and children’s session!
  • That much of the work is also a way of providing support for people who are anxious in these times
  • That this all a learning curve for KLS staff, learners and WCLL staff too

For more information on KLS:

Contact Us

If you need anything during this difficult time then please get in touch with KLS on 020 7223 2845 and info@klsettlement.org.uk 

Battersea Corona Virus Angels are on hand too: 07394 856 557 and angels@stmarysbattersea.org.uk


Worth sharing.