Bournemouth and Poole's new Skills & Learning Service has been rated as good by Ofsted, just seven months after the towns' two services merged.
A team of six Ofsted inspectors visited Skills & Learning Bournemouth and Poole, the joint adult learning service of both boroughs, in February. When last inspected as two separate services in 2008 each provider was judged to be satisfactory overall.
Ofsted reported that the management of change has been effective, "Skills and Learning provides good value for money. It has successfully reorganised and rationalised two services into one effective functional entity." They also made specific reference to the financial operating efficiencies that have been achieved.
Inspectors reported that the quality of teaching and learning is good after scrutinising 45 teaching sessions. Broad and inclusive partnership working was identified as a strong feature of Skills & Learning which has successfully widened participation and attracted learners from minority groups and disadvantaged backgrounds. They reported that many of the partnerships demonstrate the commitment towards the community.
Learners fed back to inspectors their experiences of very enjoyable courses which build skills and confidence and described the teachers as patient, skilful and helpful.
Ofsted found that, "Learners’ success rates on family, community and neighbourhood learning courses are consistently very high" and that "Success rates for long courses at entry and foundation levels, which involve the majority of Skills and Learning’s learners, are mostly better than national averages."
The grade awarded to Skills&Learning for Overall Effectiveness of Provision was 2, judged to be ‘Good’.
Councillor Judy Butt, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Public Engagement and Participation, Borough of Poole, said: "This result validates the success of the merger and how our learners have benefitted from the joint working and sharing of good practice between the two authorities. Congratulations must go to the staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure the merger happened with as little disruption as possible."
Councillor Nicola Greene, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Education and Children’s Services, Bournemouth Borough Council, said: "This is a fantastic outcome for the Skills & Learning Service. To be judged as ‘good’ following the successful merger of the Bournemouth and Poole adult learning services is great progress and I hope that the service will continue to develop and grow in the future.”
The full report is available at www.ofsted.gov.uk. For more information about the Skills & Learning Service visit boroughofpoole.com/skillsandlearning