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Adult education praised for helping the most vulnerable

Published: 24 June 2020

Inspectors from Ofsted have praised our adult community education service for supporting some of Derbyshire’s most vulnerable residents to learn.


The quality of education delivered to all students is good, with learners valuing the service’s calm, responsive and supportive culture, the inspectors found. They also highlighted many other areas of good work in the service, including:

  • attitudes and behaviour of learners
  • joint working between staff and local employers
  • effective working with young people most likely to be at risk of not being in education
  • classes for adults which provide new skills and confidence while reducing anxiety

Visiting the service over 4 days in March, the team of inspectors found that teaching programmes were good across the board with many learners gaining the skills and confidence they needed to get permanent or better jobs.

The inspectors said:

“Leaders and managers have a clear focus on providing education that meets the needs of the local community"

“For example, they target the provision of English, mathematics, ESOL (English as a second language) and ICT programmes in the most economically disadvantaged areas of Derbyshire.”

Marking 5 areas out of 7 as good, the inspectors said the service required improvement in 2 areas: leadership and management and personal development. This gives the service an overall rating of requires improvement to be good.

Acknowledging one of the issues around leadership was related to out-of-date IT systems, the inspectors said this hampered the ability of leaders to effectively monitor progress or make changes quickly.

Action plans for improvement in the areas highlighted were already being implemented said Councillor Alex Dale, Cabinet Member for Young People:

“I’m pleased to see the inspectors found the quality of teaching and learning in the service was good and acknowledged many areas of merit. However, we are not complacent and are already making improvements in the areas highlighted.”

Action plans already being implemented include:

  • transferring to a new information management system
  • improvements in processes around record keeping of staff
  • streamlining systems to improve the monitoring of teaching and learning practices

Councillor Dale added:

“We support some the most vulnerable people in Derbyshire to develop their skills and progress into new or advanced employment, including 14 to 19 year olds who may have struggled with traditional education in the past.

“I’m very proud of these achievements and we are already improving our IT systems and support for tutors so we can continue the good work already happening across the county to support some of Derbyshire’s most vulnerable residents.”

Our adult community education service offers courses to a wide range of learners, including young people, apprentices, adults who want to learn basic skills such as English, English as a second language or maths, as well as adults who want to learn new skills or hobbies for leisure.

At the time of the inspection, there were more than 2,200 learners on roll.

While the coronavirus pandemic has led to the temporary closure of our adult community education centres, the service has continued to support its most vulnerable learners through a range of online activities and resources.