West Sussex County Council (WSCC) has made progress to improve its adult education provision after it was branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.
Inspectors carried out a follow-up re-inspection in August – its second such monitoring visit since the original report was released in December – and the findings were published on Monday (September 19).
The county council was found to have made ‘reasonable progress’ in four of the five areas highlighted for improvement.
‘Insufficient progress’ was made in the fifth area, which called for the council to improve learners’ achievements in English, maths and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL).
Progress was seen to have be made when it came to the percentage of ESOL learners earning their qualification but was deemed to be “still too low” by Ofsted.
The adult education services are managed for the council by Aspire Sussex Ltd.
One of the concerns raised in the December report related to safety, as leaders had not carried out the appropriate checks on tutors or venues to ensure learners were safe.
The latest report, from lead inspector Bob Cowdrey, stated found that issue had been addressed.
He said: “A closer relationship between WSCC’s senior managers and Aspire, the main subcontractor, since the previous monitoring visit has resulted in better communication of safeguarding concerns.”
Mr Cowdrey also recognised the progress made when it came to the use of risk assessments and the keeping of comprehensive records to ensure the safety of learners.
He described the council’s improvement targets as “realistic and challenging” but said that, at the time of the inspection, it had been too early to judge the full impact such improvements had made on performance.
A council spokesman said of the report: “WSCC feels that this is a fair reflection of progress to date and is working closely with Aspire to develop the areas of concern both for the next monitoring visit and full inspection which will be due early next year.”
The spokesman added: “We are delighted to have made significant progress in four of these areas, including safeguarding of learners and venue security.
“It is a challenge ensuring that the provision meets the needs and aspirations of our community whilst finding appropriate accommodation in which to teach.”
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