Liverpool City Council’s Adult Learning Service has been praised by Ofsted for its “comprehensive wraparound support that helps learners to achieve their goals and aspirations”.
The service delivers courses in English for speakers of other languages as well as in maths, digital and wellbeing, health and education, helping develop skills to secure employment.
It was inspected over four days in September and has been judged to be ‘good’ overall, with behaviour and attitudes of learners and their personal development found to be ‘outstanding’.
Ofsted concluded that learners “thrive in a highly inclusive culture” and “vastly improve their confidence and self-esteem because of their courses and the high levels of support they receive from tutors”.
They say the curriculum meets the needs and priorities of residents and praised the work of the service in providing courses for people in hard to reach communities.
“Through their courses, learners have found friendship, support and a focus in what are often extremely challenging personal lives”.
The inspectors were struck by the “exceedingly high proportion” of learners who are actively involved in their communities, ranging from food banks to community groups and charity shops, to domestic violence charities.
Areas for development include enhancing the quality of feedback, and devising an individualised curriculum on some courses.
The service is funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and has 100 staff, and teaches around 4,500 learners every year.
The full report can be read at https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50231008.
Councillor Lila Bennett, Cabinet Member for Employment, Educational Attainment and Skills, said:
“This is a fantastic vote of confidence in our Adult Learning Service.
“It is making a life-changing difference to the lives of thousands of people every single year, giving them the skills, confidence and knowledge to secure employment.
“I am absolutely delighted with the verdict of the inspectors, and would like to pay tribute to our staff who are transforming the futures of so many residents.”
Angela Sterpetta Lanotte, a former learner with the Adult Learning Service who has gone on to get a job as a teaching assistant at a Liverpool primary school, said:
“I moved to England four years ago, some months before COVID. I was excited but afraid about the language because I had never studied English in my life.
“It was not easy to study during the pandemic but we had a mix of online and face-to-face classes, and I was then encouraged to start a teaching assistant course, and with support from the Ways to Work Team went on to secure a placement and then a job.
“I believe that the Adult Learning Service is the best venue for adults to study in Liverpool.”
Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram said:
“I know first-hand the impact that adult education can have in transforming people’s futures. I started my career as an apprentice bricklayer but took the opportunity to study later in life. The support and guidance I received as an adult learner set me on a new path and helped lay the foundations for where I am today.
“People in our region are too often held back, not by a lack of talent but a lack of opportunity. Devolution means that we can put that right – by prioritising adult education for investment we are able to give a promise of hope and opportunity to everyone with an aspiration to build a career for themselves, proving that it’s never too late to achieve your ambitions.”