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Good rating for adult learners

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Dudley Council continues to be a good provider of education for adult learners according to a recent Ofsted report.

The council’s Adult and Community Learning service provides a range of accredited and non-accredited courses including health and well-being, arts and crafts, English, maths and digital skills.

A short inspection of the service earlier in the month rated the service as good. The report found that learners enjoy their courses and are enthusiastic in their learning sessions. Learners receive effective personal support and are given clear information, advice and guidance about their next steps. The vast majority of learners go onto another course within the service, mostly at a more demanding level. A significant number move into higher-level courses provided by the service’s college partners.

The report goes on to say that the service offers a wide range of attractive courses and is exceptionally successful at engaging new learners to education. Adults who take part in family learning courses, where parents and children learn together, benefit from learning in their local community where they feel safe to take those first steps back into education. Safeguarding continues to be effective, with a focus on personal safety.

Leaders and managers were praised for their clear strategic vision for each strand of the service's curriculum delivery enabling them to adapt provision to the changing priorities of the council and other regional bodies. Governance arrangements have been strengthened since the previous inspection with the board providing a strong strategic steer to senior leaders.

The team has already started to implement a plan to address the improvements identified including improvements to the ESOL curriculum and ensuring consistency in assessment across all areas.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member responsible for adult learning, said:

This is a very positive report. I’m particularly pleased that inspectors have recognised the good work we are doing to bring adult learners back to education, many of whom did not have a positive experience of learning when they were at school.
The inspectors also said they were pleased with how learners had grown in confidence during their courses which highlights just one of the other many benefits of learning in a professional, supportive, community setting.

Dudley’s Adult and Community Learning service offers 73 accredited and 397 community learning courses each year, taught in 59 community venues across the borough. In the previous academic year 2019/20) a total of 2,976 learners studied with the service. It was last inspected in March 2016.  

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