FAQs - Buckinghamshire Adult Learning


Frequently asked questions

With over 1,500 courses to choose from there is something to suit everyone, from all ages, walks of life and abilities. Whether you’re a beginner or want to improve your skills, gain a long desired qualification or just fancy trying a new hobby we’ve got a course for you.

It is important to us that you enrol on the right course and have the support you need to get the most from your learning. Please take a look at our FAQs below, which should cover any questions you may have.

If you require any further information or support, please don’t hesitate to contact us: 01296 382403

I will need support/help with my learning, what is available?

We will always try to help if you have a physical disability or learning support need. Please see our Learning Support section for more details.

Let us know when you enrol and speak to us in confidence to discuss your needs in full.

When do I pay for my course?

Payment is needed at enrolment to secure your course place. You can pay by cheque or debit/credit card (an administration fee of £30 will apply for dishonoured cheques).

If the course runs for 25 weeks or more you can spread the cost by paying in 3 equal instalments. You will need to pay the first instalment by credit/debit card, cheque or cash at the time of enrolling which will secure your place on the course. We will then send you a Direct Debit mandate. For courses over £150 but less than 25 weeks, you can still apply to pay by instalments.

Fees in the brochure with an * include exam costs. In all other circumstances, except for basic English and Maths learners will need to pay an additional fee for exams. The amount will be shown on the Course Information Sheet (CIS). Our fees are subsidised by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (funding body). Once you have enrolled, you will be given a receipt, a map and a CIS to confirm your place on the course.

Please note, an annual £10.50 registration fee applies upon enrolment.

Can I get help with my course fees?

There is a range of help available, for more information visit our help with fees page

Can I get a refund?

If it becomes necessary to either cancel or close your course within the first three weeks, for example due to low numbers, we will refund your fees in full.

Where courses are closed after the first 3 weeks, a pro-rata refund will be made to any student attending at the time who has attended at least 80% of their sessions. We will endeavour to let you know as soon as possible and any refund due will be made by crediting your credit/debit card or by cheque. It is not possible to make refunds in cash. All cancellations will be confirmed to you in writing or email.

If you change your mind and wish to withdraw from a course before attending a session, a full refund will be given within 5 days of enrolling. If the request is made at least 15 days before the course begins, a full refund less £35 to cover administration fee will be returned to you.

It may occasionally be necessary, for reasons beyond the control of Buckinghamshire Adult Learning, to change the course tutor, make slight changes to the timing or content of the programme, or move the course to an alternative venue within a reasonable distance of the advertised venue. Refunds will only be given in exceptional circumstances.

Can a course or class get cancelled?

Course cancellation: The minimum number of students for most of our courses is 9. If a class does not reach its minimum number of students, we may cancel the course or offer you the opportunity to reduce the number of weeks with no corresponding reduction in fee, or we may increase the fee to the small group rate of £9.50 per hour as an alternative to closing the class.

Class cancellation: Where a session is cancelled, for reasons beyond the control of Buckinghamshire Adult Learning, for example, if a staff member is unwell or extreme weather conditions, we will try to offer an additional class at another time. We will promptly contact you if this happens. If the majority of the students are able to attend the alternative session then no refund will be given for the missed session.

Can I transfer from my course?

If you change your mind within 5 days of enrolling, and before attending a session, and let us know within this time period, we will refund the fees paid in full. If the request is made at least 15 days before the course begins, a full refund less £25 to cover administration will be returned to you.

For a language course, if you decide by the end of the 3rd session that the level is not appropriate and you notify us within 2 working days we will transfer you to another language course of your choice. For all other courses, if after one session you decide the course is unsuitable and you notify us with 2 working days, we will transfer you to another course of your choice. If you request a transfer to a different course in any other circumstances, an administration fee of £25 will be charged. In both cases, further costs may apply if transferring to a course of a higher fee.

If you withdraw from a course, you will not be eligible for a refund. However, in exceptional circumstances and at our discretion, we may be able to offer some credit against a future course. In this case an administration fee of £25 will be charged. All requests for credit should be made within 2 weeks of your last attendance.

Can I get a qualification?

Look through our course titles and you will see many lead to a qualification. For some of these you have to take an exam.

I'm not sure what course to do, can you suggest some?

We may be able to help point you in the right direction. We can help you with free impartial information and advice on:

  • Learning Opportunities
  • Developing New Skills
  • Voluntary Work
  • Training Courses
  • Advice on Qualifications
  • CV Writing
  • Careers Advice

For more information, advice and guidance.

Is there a lower age limit for the courses?

All learners must be aged 19 or over on 31 August 2023 for all non-accredited courses, unless they are attending a parent/child workshop where the age limit is stated separately.

Will my course be cancelled in extreme bad weather?

Bad weather cancellation: In the event of extreme weather conditions, information will be available on our social media pages, local radio station Three Counties Radio on FM 104.5, relayed by message on 01296 382403 and on our website homepage.

Are refreshments available at my course?

Hot and cold drinks are available to buy at all centres belonging to Buckinghamshire Adult Learning. For other venues local arrangements apply and your tutor will make you aware of the facilities.

Generally food is not available at our centres. Learners at Gerrards Cross Memorial Centre do have access to daytime café facilities during term time.

Can I use my mobile phone in class?

Before your session begins, please either switch off or silence your mobile phone to avoid disturbing the group.

What parking is available at my course?

Many of our centres offer free parking but please note that in some cases this may be limited/unavailable during the daytime.

We ask all our learners to park considerately, especially at smaller venues, to avoid causing difficulty or offence to the neighbours. Special parking restrictions will be notified to all learners at venues where they may apply.

For more information on our centres including parking availability please visit our Centre Locations page.

What happens if I can't attend my class?

It is important to attend your class promptly and regularly but:

  • If you know you will be missing a class, please let your tutor know the week before if possible
  • For last minute cancellations, please phone us on 01296 382403 and we will attempt and get a message to your tutor

If you miss a few sessions without letting us know, our staff will contact you to discuss the situation. If you are having any problems which affect your attendance or learning, please let your tutor know as soon as possible.

How far will I have to travel to a class?

We have main centres throughout Buckinghamshire.

We also use local schools, village halls and community centres so you should be able to find a class nearby.

Visit the Centres locations page for more details and to get maps/directions.

I have a small child - do you have any childcare provision?

Childcare provision – If you are on an accredited course (the course ends in ‘F’) – you may be able to get help with childcare costs if you are seeking work or on a range of benefits.

If you are not in receipt of any benefits you will have to pay for your own childcare provision in full.

Please phone 01494 586566 for more information.

I am an Overseas learner - Do I need to pay anything extra?

Learners who have not been living in the UK or EU residents who have not been living in the EEA for at least three years will need to pay the Overseas Student Rate for any course which is £12.00 per hour.

Is the online enrolment secure?

Yes, our website is secure and all personal and financial details are held in accordance with the Data Protection Act.