Learner information

Enrolling onto a Learning & Skills course

Our courses run subject to sufficient demand. Places are limited and need to be booked in advance. If you would like to book a place or require further information please contact Learning & Skills on 01325 405601, 07932 869325 or email l&[email protected]

When you enrol for a course you will need to provide your personal details.

For courses with a fee you will need to pay the full course fee to secure your place. This must be paid in advance of the course starting. You can pay over the phone with a debit/credit card (American Express is not accepted) or you can pay in person at The Coleridge Centre with card, cash or cheque. You can also post a cheque to our address. Cheques must be made payable to Learning & Skills Darlington Borough Council. You will be issued with a receipt upon payment of a course.

Full Fees (including enrolment and tuition fees): £3.00 per hour 

Accredited Learning: Full accreditation fee (if applicable) - if the course has a qualification there will be additional fees to pay for registration and certification. 

No fees will be charged for publicly subsidised courses where:

1. Learners are aged 16-18 (on 31st August of the academic year)

2. Learners are aged 19-24 (on 31st August of the academic year) with a learning difficulty and / or disability as evidenced through an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan or Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA) 

3. Learners are aged 19 or older where the learning aim is up to and including level 2, and the learner is studying English or Maths

4. Learners are aged 19-23 (on their first day of study) and are studying their first 'full' level 2 or first 'full' level 3, excludes English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) 

5. Learners are aged 19 or older where the learning aim is up to and including level 2 (including ESOL), the skills training will help them into work, and the learner is classed as unemployed and one of more of the following apply:

a. They receive Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) - this includes those receiving National Insurance credits only, or 

b. They receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the learner is in the work-related activity group (WRAG), or

c. They receive of Universal Credit, earn less than 16 times the national minimum wage or £330 a month and are determined by Jobcentre Plus (JCP) as being in one of the following groups: 

i. All Work Related Requirements Group 

ii. Work Preparation Group

iii. Work Focused Interview Group

d. They are released on temporary licence (RoTL) and studying outside a prison environment and not funded through the Offender's Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) 

Evidence required: Letter of entitlement from Job Centre Plus indicating the date and claim or for copy of licence (RoTL) from Probation Service

6. Learners aged 19-24 who are unemployed and on a Traineeship 

Courses with no public subsidy
For learners aged 19 or above and where the learning aim is level 3 or above (except for exclusion above), learners will need to take out an Advanced Learning Loan, subject to funding availability. Further details can be found at: www.gov.uk/advanced-learning-loans[external link].

Asylum Seekers - individuals will be assessed for eligibility in conjunction with SFA guidance Special fees - some courses have special fees, cost on application.

FE course - NVQ and similar price on application.

The following courses are free:
Family Learning, Functional Skills, Distance Learning, Study Programme and courses which are funded through external projects

Additional Learning Support (ALS)
Is intended to enable disadvantaged learners to achieve their learning goal by providing funding, on top of programme funds, to help them overcome their barriers to learning. The funding is intended to be flexible and to help support learners who have a range of learning difficulties and / or disabilities.

At Learning & Skills we pride ourselves on providing great information, advice and guidance to all our learners.

Learning & Skills is accredited to the Matrix standard. This standard is a unique quality standard for the assessment and measurement of the advice and support services we provide, which ultimately supports learners in their choice of career, learning, work and life goals.

We try to give all learners the opportunity to develop an awareness of career pathways and make informed choices based on their personal aspirations and abilities. All Learning & Skills learners are entitled to careers information, advice and guidance which is: 

  • Independent and impartial 
  • Accessible
  • Structured and forms part of a learner's overall education

 Post-16 options 

  • Further education
  • Training and Apprenticeships 

Post-19 options:

  • Applying for higher education
  • Researching possible courses and institutions
  • Access to prospectuses from universities 
  • Information and sign-posting on student financing higher education and preparing for student life
  • Job Centre Plus / employment agencies 


  • Help with interviews and the Apprenticeship programme
  • Work related learning and careers
  • Discussion with the Mentor and Career Guidance Advisor in relation to Apprenticeship suitability and what is expected as an apprentice

For further information, please contact Learning & Skills on 01325 405601, 07932 869325 or l&[email protected]

Our current accreditation lasts until 15 June 2020. 

the matrix logo

We offer impartial advice and guidance to all. We help with: 

  • Advice on courses delivered by us and other providers 
  • Transition support from schools 
  • Job search and interview skills
  • CV preparation
  • Advice on improving yours skills, qualifications and employability
  • Courses to improve your career prospects 
  • Careers advice
  • Progression from your current course

A list of websites you may find useful [pdf document]

Many learners will be feeling uncertain and anxious and it is vital that they can still access the mental health support they need. Learning & Skills always consider their learners’ mental health and wellbeing and identify learners who may need additional support.

Learning & Skills are in the process of training select team members in Mental Health First Aid. These staff members will be available across the service during open hours to provide mental health support to those in need. If you feel you could benefit talking to one of our Mental Health First Aiders you can quietly and confidentially ask your tutor, or you can seek out the designated safeguard officers in the service.

All NHS mental health trusts are setting up 24/7 helplines and seeking to use digital and virtual channels to continue delivering support during the pandemic.

Social connections, alongside exercise, sleep, a healthy diet and routine, are important protective factors for mental health. Resources to promote and support mental wellbeing are included in the list of online resources we have published to help children and young people to learn at home.

Public Health England have also published more extensive guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is providing £5m of additional funding for mental health charities (to support adults and children).

Digital support includes

  • an educational resource for adults about children and young people’s mental health, which is relevant for teachers, other professionals working with children, volunteers, parents and carers
  • the Every Mind Matters platform from Public Health England has specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the outbreak
  • the Association of Colleges has produced a coronavirus resource hub

Mental health is also covered in the interim safeguarding guidance, and the principles in Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) continue to apply. Below are some suggestions as to how providers have supported their learners with their mental health:

  • making effective use of remote one-to-one counselling.
  • encouraging young people to identify their own self-care strategies during this uncertain time; online resources can help with this. Some providers are running live mindfulness classes to improve learner wellbeing.
  • completing welfare checks at the start of each session to ensure that all learners are engaged and supported.
  • PHSE lessons have been delivered remotely and focused on topics relevant to learners being at home, including mental health awareness, healthy living and online safety.
  • there are many studies which have shown that doing physical activity can improve mental health. Sport England has enlisted 450 School Games Organisers to help deliver a programme of free daily digital content to help keep young people active.

Make a plan

Invest in a diary or a wall calendar. Find out when your deadlines are for submitting work and exam dates and write them down. You may also want to write down practice exam dates and other important dates provided by your tutor. Ask your tutor for these dates if they have not been provided.

Plan your daily routine and tasks / schedule your study time

Planning the night or the weekend before will allow you be organised the following day/week. Each day or week put time aside for studying and prioritise this over a few other things. Write down what your plans are for every day of the week and make sure you schedule in all of the study time your tutor recommends.

Tell your employer

If you work full-time it will be worth telling your employer so they can support you if required. They will delighted to see that you are investing in your own personal development.

Choose your best place to study

Sometimes studying at home doesn’t always go to plan. There are many distractions such as family members walking into your room to discuss something or having the TV on. May be speak to your manager about staying back for a few hours or coming in early so you can concentrate while it is quiet in the office, or go to the local library or café that is open later in the evening.

Choose when you can find the best time to study

Some people like to study in the morning and some people prefer in the evening. You may want to just study once a week or spread it across the week, whichever you decide to do, stick to the routine. Choose what is best for you.

Stay motivated

Remind yourself why you are studying, write down the benefits and the positive opportunities available after you have completed your studies. It may be worth having a large notice board to help you remember these on a daily basis.

Talk about problems

If you are struggling with a piece of work or struggling to hand in work before your deadline due to an emergency situation elsewhere, then talk to your tutor. Don’t ignore the problem, your tutor will help and support you to reach a solution.

Keep calm, focused and look after yourself

To keep motivated and help you study it is also important to look after yourself. Take time out to relax or do something you enjoy. Eat healthily and drink water to stay hydrated at all times. If you can, take regular exercise. May be have goals, such as ‘when one unit is completed I will treat myself to a cinema trip’ or whatever you enjoy or prefer.

You can say no

Although socialising or going to family events is something that you should do to stay motivated, when it comes close to your deadline dates and exams it may be better to say no so you can concentrate on your studies. If friends pressure you into going out, then you can say no to them and tell them you will go out once all the exams have been completed or you have submitted your work.

Learning & Skills has the facility to offer Advanced Learner Loans to support learners with course fees, and this is dependent on a number of factors.


To be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan you must:

  • Be aged 19 or over

Your course must be:

  • a Level 3, 4, 5 or 6 qualification, for example A Levels or graduate certificate
  • at an approved college or training provider in England

Your nationality or residency status must be:

  • living in the UK on the first day of your course
  • have been living in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for 3 years before starting your course
  • be a UK national or have ‘settled status’ (this means there are no restrictions on how long you can stay)

Loan eligibility does not depend on income and there are no credit checks.

What you will get

  • You can apply to up to 4 loans, but you can only apply once for Access to HE
  • Minimum loan value is £300
  • Learning & Skills will decide the loan amount for the course
  • You do not have to borrow the full amount; you can pay some money towards the cost


You will pay back your loan when both the following apply:

  • You have finished the course
  • You earn more than £25,000 per year

How to apply

  • Check with Learning & Skills that the course qualifies
  • Ask Learning & Skills for a ‘Learning and funding information’ letter - you need this to complete the application. It contains the details about your course.
  • Apply online– you will need to register first. You can apply by post if you cannot apply online on the Student Loans website. [external link] 
  • You will receive a letter confirming your loan - usually within 2 weeks if you apply online (postal applications take longer).

What you need to know

You cannot apply until you get a ‘learning and funding information letter’ from Learning & Skills.

You can apply for a loan without a National Insurance number, but you must have one before the loan can be paid.

Videos & Factsheets

Below you will find a video and factsheets provided by the Student Loans Company and the Department for Education. These provide the key facts and FAQs on Advanced Learner Loans and also act as a guide on how to obtain one.

Learning & Skills Qualifying Courses

The courses that qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan are:

For more information contact Learning & Skills on 01325 405601 or email l&[email protected]

Or visit gov.uk website page for advanced learner loans [external link]

Learning & Skills is now able to offer both the TOTUM (NUS Extra) and the NUS Extra Apprentice student discount cards. 

These cards bring over 200 UK discounts and come with 1-year FREE International Student Identity Card (ISIC), valid in over 130 countries worldwide and unlocking over 42,000 international discounts.

Please click these links to apply for the TOTUM card [external link] or the NUS Extra Apprentice card [external link] selecting Darlington Borough Council as your place of study.*

To qualify you must attend a Learning & Skills course that is 10 weeks in duration or longer.

Courses that do and don't qualify

Courses that qualify

Courses that do not qualify

  • Apprenticeships
  • Diplomas
  • Study Programme
  • Functional Skills
  • GCSEs
  • ESOL
  • Distance Learning
  • Further and Higher Education Courses
  • Community Learning Courses
  • Family Learning
  • Intensive Support
  • Free online CPD courses

* Usually all cards are delivered to The Coleridge Centre. However, due to the current COVID-19 restrictions you must select to have have the card delivered to your home address for an additional fee of £1.50. As our venue remains closed we cannot process cards delivered to the Coleridge Centre in the usual way. Apologies for any inconvenience.

pictures of student cards