Ofsted praise Council’s Adult and Community Education Service

Wakefield Council’s Adult and Community Education Service has received excellent feedback from Ofsted following an interim visit to share experiences of managing learning opportunities during the first national lockdown.

The visits are being undertaken to inform a research project that Ofsted are sharing with the Department for Education to aid in future planning should anything like this happen again.   

During their visit last month, Ofsted were impressed with the actions taken by the service to carry on teaching and supporting learners in challenging circumstances.

They noted that teachers had focused on practical work in the classroom with smaller class sizes to maximise opportunities for coaching learners and to maintain social distancing and that learners had studied the theory component of their course remotely.

Those learning to speak English were given a blend of classroom learning for speaking and listening, and remote learning to develop reading and writing skills.

There was also praise of the service’s collaboration with stakeholders to support vulnerable people in the community, including developed learning resources and activities around independent cooking skills for residents of care homes who were unable to attend community venues.

Ofsted were impressed with the team’s dedication to learners who are at risk and might struggle away from the classroom, noting: “Leaders are aware of challenges faced by learners who have limited access to computers to enable them to learn online. Managers and teachers work around this by delivering paper-based resources to learners’ homes and holding weekly telephone tutorials with learners.

“Teachers keep in touch with learners who are at risk and provide them with information about sources of information and support. Learners with mental health issues described how the contact they received from their tutor had enabled them to complete their course.”

Darren Byford smiling
Cllr Darren Byford

Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: “It is absolutely fantastic to get this positive feedback from Ofsted.

“I am incredibly proud of our staff who adapted brilliantly during the first national lockdown to make sure that people who were already taking courses could get the support they needed and that the support was available for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“Giving our residents the opportunity to learn new skills, take qualifications to change career or move up the ladder with their current employer, is going to be crucial in helping the district’s economy recover from this pandemic.”

The service is still open for business during the current lockdown and the team are available to discuss how they can help people attend a course. For anyone who is currently furloughed or looking to do something to keep busy or learn something new, or unemployed, the service can help with updating CVs and interview skills. There are also options to update digital skills or English and Maths. Keeping safe is important to the team and they are currently running reduced class sizes due to social distancing, but anyone interested in attending a course can still have a look around first and see how COVID-safe they are.

For more information about the Council’s Adult and Community Education Service and the courses available, visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/adulteducation or call 01924 303302 or contact manygates@wakefield.gov.uk