Cornwall Council’s adult education service has been rated ‘good’ by the government’s education watchdog Ofsted.
It was praised for creating an “inclusive environment that fosters high levels of respect” leaving learners feeling “welcomed and valued, enabling them to learn effectively and gain self-confidence”.
Community courses were made accessible to people living in areas of deprivation and “help bring people together in their communities and reduce social isolation”.
Cornwall Adult Education was also commended for helping people into work, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The full report is available to read on the Ofsted website.
Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek, Cabinet Member for Children and Families and Learning and Skills, said:
“Cornwall Adult Education is a brilliant service, and everyone should be extremely proud of the results of the Inspection. Adult education is so much more than a chance to learn a new hobby, it is also an opportunity to learn basic skills such as literacy and numeracy, and to increase job opportunities by learning about computer skills, book-keeping and other important work-related skills.
“Adult education is at the heart of ‘lifelong learning’ and a core component of one of the council’s four priorities to achieve a ‘thriving, sustainable Cornwall’.”
The council provides education and training through its ‘Link into Learning’ sites and Adult Education Centres, of which there are 17 across Cornwall.
They cater for adults and young learners aged 16 to 18, offering study courses that lead to accredited qualifications. Most study ‘Skills for Life’ courses that include basic skills in maths, English, information and communication technology (ICT) and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL).
People can also take ‘non-qualification’ community courses, such as arts and languages, including Cornish.
Around 1,600 adult learners and 60 learners aged 16 to 18 enrol each year.
Dr Andrew Upton, Chair of the Adult Education Board of Governors, said:
“Cornwall Adult Education was judged in the September 2023 Ofsted inspection to have good overall effectiveness in its provision to adult and young learners. With all of the individual inspection judgements such as the quality of education and management of the service also being judged good, and the arrangements for safeguarding being judged as effective this was a positive affirmation of adult education.
“This is down to the dedication, hard work and care of the staff. The governors give our heartfelt thanks to the staff in the support they give to each and every learner. Adult Education is an important lifeline to help individuals develop personally and achieve their goals.”
Rob Sweetzer-Sturt, Head of Adult Education at Cornwall Council, said:
“There is always room to improve and we will not be complacent going forwards, but overall I am really pleased with the outcome of the inspection. The team works incredibly hard to deliver the best service and best possible outcomes to all our learners and it is great that they have received recognition for this.”
Rob said his team was heartened by one finding by Ofsted which praised the strong, positive relationships that tutors had with learners, boosting resilience, independence and confidence.
“We were particularly proud of this comment because Ofsted described us in the same way that we would describe out own aspirations,” he added.
Here are just a few comments from learners on recent courses:
- “These classes have made me gain confidence in maths and English. Before doing the courses I felt like I was not clever but with the help and support I feel a lot better about things.” (Functional Skills, English and Maths).
- “I enjoyed the encouragement from my tutor and the confidence I gained from learning maths again.” (Maths).
- “Before starting the course I had no self-confidence and no social life. Meeting the people I have during the course has made me realise I am more than a mum and has given me such passion for psychology and improved my self-confidence. As ridiculous as it may sound one tutor in particular will never know just how much her help and guidance has improved and influenced my future, along with my mental health.” (Access to HE).
- “The course has helped me grow in confidence after a tragic time in my life. I was so nervous when I entered the classroom for the first time and the tutor made me feel safe and that I was in an environment that I could feel comfortable in.” (Award in Jewellery).
- “It is good to do something new that engages my brain which I have found very stimulating and enjoyable.” (Languages).
In the expected cycle of inspections, Adult Education is likely due another inspection from Ofsted in five years’ time.
For more information, and to see what courses are available, visit the Adult and Community Education pages.