Adult education in Hackney ‘must improve,’ says Ofsted

Students sit exams. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA

Students sit exams. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA - Credit: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES

Adult education in Hackney “requires improvement,” inspectors have judged.

Too few learners aged 19 and above achieve the qualifications they are aiming for, and quality of teaching is inconsistent, a report from education watchdog Ofsted stated today.

It is the first inspection since the council took back control of its education services from private not-for-profit company The Learning Trust in 2012, when its adult education provision was rated “good”.

The report published today said: “Too few learners on courses that lead to qualifications achieve them, especially in English and mathematics.

“Those on ICT courses make better progress and the proportion who achieve their qualifications is rising, but still requires further improvement.”

It added that the quality of teaching and assessment “varies too much,” with many students working to “easy” targets.

“For example, all learners in an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class had the same target, to label five body parts, when their language levels differed considerably,” the report stated.

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The personal development, behaviour and welfare of adult learners was judged as “good” but in all other categories, the service was judged as “requires improvement” – one above the lowest rating of “inadequate”.

The service was praised for improving the self-confidence, and life and employment skills of learners with mental health problems, and for its “relevant and effective curriculum”.

A council spokesman said: “A number of strengths were identified in the report, however we accept that there are areas that require improvement, particularly achievements in Maths and English and the need for consistency in the quality of teaching and learning.

“We have a wide ranging and popular provision for adult learners in Hackney, and we will continue to support those most in need of support and qualifications.

“We are already putting into practice a comprehensive action plan in response to the recommendations from Ofsted, and look forward to working closely with the support HMI [inspector] to make further improvements”.

For a full report, read next week’s Hackney Gazette.