Essex County Council making ‘reasonable progress’ in improvements for adult and community learning services, Ofsted says

Work has been going on at County Hall to improve adult community learning services. Picture: LUCY TA

Work has been going on at County Hall to improve adult community learning services. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR - Credit: Archant

One of the region’s local authorities rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted one year ago is making “reasonable progress” in its improvements, inspectors have said.

Essex County Council was handed the lowest possible rating by Ofsted in December 2016 after an inspection over three days, in which a catalogue of issues were raised with its adult and community learning services.

At the end of October inspectors returned for a third monitoring inspection since the authority was given the rating, with its latest report published this month stating that the county council was making “significant progress” in safeguarding measures, and “reasonable progress” in all other areas.

The latest report said: “Safeguarding arrangements are effective and ensure that all learners and apprentices are safe,” thanks to additional training in areas such as radicalisation, British values and new skills.

Elsewhere, the report praised the training being laid on for leaders and tutors, but said that, “some tutors do not attend mandatory training events, which diminishes the impact of this support.”

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The report continued that teaching, learning and assessment were far more effective now but too many teachers adopted a “one-size-fits-all approach” to lessons.

A spokesman from Essex County Council said it was buoyed by the progress that was being made, and added: “We are pleased that at its recent monitoring visit, Ofsted recognised the progress that ACL [adult and community learning] has made.

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“We will continue our work to improve services for students.”

After the inspection in December 2016, the Further Education Commissioner penned a report which suggested safeguarding was one of the main reasons behind the poor rating, but hailed the county council’s approach in making swift improvements to help rectify the situation.

The latest report marks a measured improvement on the findings of the second monitoring visit in July, in which inspectors ruled that insufficient progress was being made in two of the five areas – improving teaching, learning and assessment and making sure tutors’ observations were fit for purpose in securing improvements.

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