Adult learning provision in Knowsley continues to be Good, a recent Ofsted inspection has confirmed.
Knowsley’s Family and Community Education (FACE) has almost 500 adults currently studying courses in a diverse range of subjects – from English and Maths to digital skills and mental health awareness. The service supports some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents, who are able to access both accredited and non-accredited programmes of learning.
FACE had been previously inspected in January 2016, with a judgement of Good. And when Ofsted returned in November 2021, inspectors found that these high standards had been maintained.
Helping adult learners achieve their goals
Inspectors found that learners enjoy attending their lessons, and value the social interaction it offers, too. Those on the courses offered by FACE told inspectors that they are well supported by tutors and community centre staff and feel they are being helped to achieve their goals – which could be for further study or employment. They said the experience of learning with FACE has helped them increase in confidence and build resilience in their personal lives, too.
As well as benefits directly to the learner, Ofsted reported that the wider benefits of the courses were having positive impacts on whole families, too. They said that in many cases, learners develop knowledge, skills and behaviours which help them in both their own lives and their families’ lives. For example, they are more confident and capable in their maths skills which allows them to help their children with their schoolwork.
Breaking down barriers
Ofsted also praised the delivery of the FACE sessions – which take place in either local community venues or through online classes. They said this helps to remove some of the common barriers to learning, such as arranging childcare or the cost of travel.
In terms of the quality and breadth of the offer, Ofsted found that the courses are closely aligned to the priorities identified by Knowsley Council and the Liverpool City Region, which aim to address social disadvantage and increase the ‘cultural capital’ of residents.
Inspectors said tutors plan learning in a structured way and use a broad range of teaching methods to support learners. They give helpful written and oral feedback and encourage learners to proof-read their work and identify their own errors – helping them become more confident.
Now Ofsted have recommended the service strengthen its careers advice and set more specific targets to help accelerate progress and help learners understand how to achieve their longer-term goals.
Efforts have been recognised
Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services – and with responsibility for Adult Education in Knowsley – said: “We’re delighted that Ofsted have confirmed that the Family and Community Education service remains Good.
“This service works with hundreds of adults in our borough at any one time – and in many cases, helps to change lives for the better. It could be the support needed for a person to get the qualifications they need for a job, or the skills and confidence to help them in their personal and family lives.
“Time and again, we hear from people who have gone on to achieve things they never thought they could after studying with FACE, or who have been inspired to make a positive difference in their lives.
“Congratulations to all the fantastic tutors and thank you for your efforts, which have been well recognised in this report.”