Adult Learning provision praised by education inspectors

Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan’s adult learning provision has been hailed as “highly effective” after an official inspection.

The review, by Estyn, examined the service provided by the Cardiff and Vale Adult Learning in the Community Partnership, a group made up of Cardiff Council, the Cardiff and Vale College, Vale of Glamorgan Council and Adult Learning Wales.

Together, its 193 part-time and 43 full-time teaching staff provide courses for almost 6,000 learners.

In a positive report, Estyn inspectors said the partnership had a “clear and well-articulated vision for its purpose, direction and provision,” adding: “The vision is rooted in its commitment to improving the life chances for adult learners in its diverse communities.”

The report makes clear that the Partnership provides far more than education. Learners report that engaging in learning has a positive impact on their lives, through helping them into work, learning a new skill, supporting their children’s lives or enriching their own lives through artistic and social activities. The report quoted one learner who said the course helped give her more confidence and self-esteem, as well as providing the opportunity to meet new people. She is now enjoying working as a teaching assistant at her children's school.

The courses also often act as a gateway to further education opportunities with many keen to progress to further learning, employment or volunteering activities.

In nearly all classes, said the report, there is “enjoyment and laughter and mutual support. There is an ethos across the partnership that learning is fun as well as an emphasis on its importance in increasing life chances, improving mental health and well-being and creating inclusive and thriving communities.”

A strength of the Partnership, the report said, was its ability to adapt the provision of courses to the changing needs of the Welsh labour market and to work effectively with other partners if there are particular issues. “The partnership has a strong focus on helping learners improve their skills to gain employment. It does this through a well-considered range of activities which may start with partnering a learner with an employment mentor, the learner moving to a non-accredited introductory course and then onto accredited provision in one of the partnership’s ‘vocational academies’, which are clearly focused on the regional priorities for work.”

Cllr Peter Bradbury, Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Tackling Poverty and Supporting Young People, said the report showed how hard the Partnership staff had worked and demonstrated that it was providing a great service for some of the most vulnerable people in the region.

“On many of the courses, people acquire new skills that not only help them gain employment or progress to further study but also develop their personal skills to support their children or other family members.”

Cllr Rhiannon Birch, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet member for Education, Arts and the Welsh Language, said: “We’re delighted with the contents of this inspection report, which is testament to the efforts of staff and an example of what can be achieved through partnership working.

“Everyone involved should be very proud of the report’s contents, which illustrate the real difference this service is making to people’s lives. It highlights the partnership’s clear vision and direction, also praising the work done to help learners from diverse communities.

“I’d like to join the long list of people to express their sincere appreciation for everything the partnership is doing in our communities.”

To view the full report, follow this link: For more information on adult learning in Cardiff and the Vale, call 029 20871071, email or follow this link