Inspectors criticise service that teaches hundreds of adults in South Yorkshire

Barnsley Town Hall
Barnsley Town Hall
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A council-run service that helps hundreds of people gain new qualifications needs to improve, inspectors have ruled.

Barnsley Council's adult skills, employability and community learning service offers courses to more than 1,400 people each year at venues across the town.

But Ofsted found the service to be requiring improvement in a number of key areas.

Inspectors said that leaders and manager do not implement actions quickly enough to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and learners' outcomes quickly enough. They also do not have access to detailed data about learners' progress and achievement to enable them to identify areas for concern.

Too few learners were found to achieve their qualifications in English, maths and English for speakers of other languages writing skills, and information and communication technology.

There was also criticism of staff. Tutors make insufficient use of information about learners’ starting points or the progress they make to plan sufficiently challenging learning activities.

Tutors also do not explain clearly to adults on community and family learning courses the progress that they are making and, as a result, a minority of learners make slow progress.

Staff were found to not reinforce sufficiently modern British values and how these relate to learners as citizens of Barnsley on their programmes, nor do they develop learners’ understanding of risks associated with radicalisation and extremism well enough.

Inspectors did highlight several strengths of the service, which is run by Barnsley Council at 30 venues around the town.

They found leaders and managers lead highly effective partnerships, tutors plan and deliver a range of interesting and enjoyable learning activities, adults improve their communication and employability skills by attending programmes and a high proportion of learners who take accredited vocational qualifications make good progress and gain the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve and progress to further learning or employment.

Coun Roy Miller, cabinet spokesman for place, said: “In December 2016 the adult skills and community learning service was subject to inspection by Ofsted which resulted in an overall judgement of ‘requires improvement’.

“Inspectors identified significant strengths within the service, including its ability to offer an inclusive and welcoming environment with interesting and enjoyable learning activities, and the service is confident that it has the capacity to make the improvements required to achieve an overall judgement of ‘good’ at the next full inspection.

"The report also recognised that adults enrolled in the programme are improving in confidence, communication skills and employability skills and that many achieve and progress to further learning or employment.”