Education watchdog Ofsted has rated Liverpool City Council’s Adult Learning Service as ‘good’ in a new inspection.
More than 10,500 people enrolled on to courses at its seven sites across the city last year – with three quarters of them from the most disadvantaged communities in the city.
Inspectors praised “exemplary” changes which have been made to focus the service on employment and skills to help residents gain qualifications that will help them into work, such as English, maths and computer skills.
They found that “leaders and senior managers have focused very effectively on improving the quality of the provision” and that learners “receive a good quality of education”.
They also assessed that managers “have ensured that service’s response to the changing needs and priorities of disadvantaged communities in Liverpool is outstanding”; that they are “very ambitious for the provision” and the service is “striving hard to be an outstanding provider”.
Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for education, employment and skills, Councillor Nick Small, said: “In recent years we have completely refocused the Adult Learning Service so that everything it does is around helping people in to work. This is really important in Liverpool because we have a considerable skills shortage which is a huge barrier to people getting in to work.
“I am delighted that Ofsted have recognised the success of our approach, and I would like to pay tribute to all of our staff for embracing the changes we have made and delivering amazing teaching and learning day in, day out.
“Gaining a qualification is a game-changer for many of the people that they are teaching and opens the door to a whole new world of opportunities. They are literally changing people’s lives for the better.
“I am also pleased that inspectors have recognised the ambition that we have for the service and our absolute determination to make further improvements and help more people achieve their potential.”
In 2015/16, around 40 percent of learners did not have any previous qualifications when they took their first course. Many went on to take further courses and gain paid employment, work as volunteers in local businesses or become self-employed.
Inspectors have made a small number of recommendations to further improve the service, including setting clear and demanding targets for the progression of learners in to jobs and encouraging learners to keep their work well organised.