In 1991 I was appointed to a university continuing education department. My role was to ‘reach out’ to marginalised social groups in the region and provide short courses which were of university standard. Such groups would be identified largely as people who have minimal initial education and from socio economic groups four and five (skilled, semi skilled or manual workers); in particular, having a disability, being of minority ethnic background or being of retirement age (Sargant 1992, 1997, Metcalf 1993, McGivney 1990, Martin, White & Meltzer 1989). It was a similar project to that undertaken by a number of universities and came nationally to be known as ‘work to counter educational disadvantage’ (UCACE 1992). I was to bridge the gap between ‘non participants’ and the primarily white, middle class and well educated clientele in the department’s traditional programme of short, non-award bearing courses for the general public. The traditional courses were taught by academics, usually on topics which related to the subjects (disciplines) of university departments and were known as liberal adult education (LAE). Although non award bearing, the level of such provision was generally considered to be comparable with the first year of a university undergraduate course. Associated study expectations varied but it was implicitly assumed that people who attended would pursue their interest in the subject with further, independent reading.