Agenda item

Estyn Inspection of Adult Community Learning (ACL) within the North East Wales Adult Community Learning Partnership


That the Committee note the findings of the Estyn Inspection and were assured by the positive outcomes for adult community learning provision in Flintshire.


            The Chair congratulated the Adult Community Learning Team for achieving the positive Estyn Inspection Report.  She was pleased to see that two-case studies had been requested by Estyn as they had observed best practice and would wish to share this.   She was also satisfied that the areas for improvement mentioned in the report had already been previously acknowledged by the Adult Community Learning Partnership highlighting their robust self-evaluation.


            The Senior Manager for School Improvement thanked the Chair for her comments.  She provided a brief outline of the ambitious partnership working with Wrexham which had enabled the North-East Wales Adult Community Learning Partnership to scale up the provision and opportunities for adult learners.  Much of this work had been undertaken during the pandemic with the Partnership growing during this time, especially the level of engagement with Partners.  An outline of the progress since this period and discussions held with Estyn around the vision for the Partnership was given and the increased funding providing that momentum to ensure that this continued for many years to come.  Referring to the report from Estyn and the request for two case studies which endorsed the vision and direction of the Partnership especially with recommendations 1 to 3 already identified in the Partnership’s Quality Improvement plan  (QIP) which was shared with Estyn during the Inspection.  Regarding recommendation 4 the social media campaign provided during 2020/21 highlighted how opportunities for engagement were provided to learners during this time and she provided information on how learners can find out about and enrol on courses  as well as  plans for further engagement moving forward.


            The Adviser for Post 16 and Adult Community Learning said the Partnership was delighted with the outcome of the report especially coming at the end of the first year.  It had provided reassurance to the team around the processes such as the self-evaluation report and quality improvement plan.  This had also helped identify the next steps to improve the opportunities and outcomes of all adult learners in Flintshire.


            Councillor Dave Mackie congratulated the team on the inspection report and the work undertaken within a year.  


            In response to several comments raised by Councillor Dave Mackie, the Senior Manager for School Improvement said these were the same questions raised at the Management Board, Curriculum and Quality meetings and sat within the Quality Improvement Plan for the Board.  She hoped that future reports to Committee would provide information on the outcomes and achievements as the Partnership develops.  The national data collection on attendance, completion rates and attainment rates had been paused during Covid, but she said that work was ongoing to ensure that the next collection of data was presented.  A future report to Committee would highlight how those recommendations had been developed into actions and outcomes.  She provided information on the mapping of provision, online presence, together with the buildings used and said that this information was fed into the Council’s corporate plan and portfolio business plan.  She then provided an update on family learning which had been embraced by schools. 


            The Adviser for Post 16 and Adult Community Learning provided an overview of the launch of the Family Learning Programme last year and the meetings held with Officers, Heads Federation, Deputy Heads of primary schools to promote Adult Community Learning.  This had been successful with 14 primary schools and 2 high schools involved on different projects and she explained what topics they were covering.  She provided information on the Wellies in the Wood programme working with 200 parents focusing on reading, communication and working outdoors.  


            Councillor Carolyn Preece commented that this was excellent, especially with Estyn asking for two best practice case studies to promote this programme across Wales.  As the Estyn narrative and framework had changed, she wondered if a training session would be useful for Members to understand what Estyn looked at and the type of wording that they now used in their reports.


            Councillor Bill Crease reported on his time working in adult education and understood the positive impacts that projects like this could make.  Referring to the recommendations he said Scrutiny should be able to construct a series of measurable objectives from the four recommendations which the Committee could regularly review and measure progress.  


            The Chief Officer (Education & Youth) thanked Councillors Mackie and Crease for their helpful comments and the reassurance provided by the Senior Manager for School Improvement as regards to the next steps in taking the recommendations forward.   The detailed action plans would be delivered through the Partnership and presented back to Committee for members to have that overview and scrutinise progress against those recommendations.  She thanked the Senior Manager – School Improvement and the Adviser for Post 16 and Adult Community Learning and the team involved in the Partnership for their work which had resulted in a fantastic offer for residents in Flintshire and Wrexham.


            Councillor Mackie referred to the overview provided by the Adviser for Post 16 and Adult Community Learning and said the need had clearly been identified and the department had looked at how to set up the process to support that need. 


            The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Welsh Language, Culture and Leisure added his congratulations to everyone involved saying it was a tremendous achievement and the accolades from Estyn were deserved.


            The recommendation, as outlined within the report, was moved by Councillor Bill Crease and seconded by Councillor Jason Shallcross.




That the Committee note the findings of the Estyn Inspection and were assured by the positive outcomes for adult community learning provision in Flintshire.

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