Increasing qualifications drive Ofsted turnaround

This story was published 18 July 2019

North Yorkshire has achieved an impressive Ofsted turnaround of its Adult Learning and Skills Service (ALSS) thanks to an increase in those securing qualifications.

Staff and learners celebrate a good Ofsted rating

The service has been judged as “good” by inspectors just two years after it was rated as “requires improvement”.

The turnaround is driven by an increase in the proportion of adult learners who complete their qualifications, particularly in English, mathematics and ICT.

Adults, apprentices and learners who have high needs benefit from a “well-tailored programme”, which allows them to “develop their independence and prepare well for the future”.

The inspectors noticed an “increase in confidence” in adult learners, and said they “engage more actively as citizens in their communities”.

Leaders and managers were seen to “develop the curriculum effectively” and “use their funding effectively” to ensure residents “gain the skills they require to find work and improve their life chances and wellbeing”.

Inspectors found that teachers “identify any additional learning and specialist support needs”. In turn, it is noted that learners “manage their behaviours and reduce their anxieties”.

One adult learner undertaking an ICT course said: “This is an absolutely wonderful course to help me get up to date with digital media. I found the teacher’s ability to meet me at my level has been brilliant. As an older mother and part-time worker still having universal credit, my teacher has made it possible for me to learn as well as care for my daughter and fit other commitments in. My teacher is able to juggle all our needs and still leave me feeling capable and able.”

“We have had a wonderful teacher, understanding and patient with everyone,” said another learner. “It was made fun and easy – no-one was made to feel inadequate.”

Another learner added: “The support, advice and extra information from our teacher has been of a very high standard and enabled comfort and progression in confidence and enthusiasm.”

County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “It’s fantastic that Ofsted has recognised the work of the ALSS which benefits so many people across the county. I would like to thank our dedicated staff for all their hard work in striving for improvement.

“The report praises leaders for a ‘thorough analysis and understanding of local need’. Supporting the most disadvantaged and vulnerable residents by giving them the skills they require to succeed in life is one of the key priorities of the Council.

“We know that improvements to the service can still be made and our aim now is to achieve an ‘outstanding’ rating in the next inspection. We have every confidence our staff will continue to advance the quality of support on offer to learners.”