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St Helens Borough Council’s Adult and Community Learning service commended in assessment report

Article date - 02 November 2020

Adult learners in St Helens Borough accessing education and qualification opportunities through a council-run service are improving in confidence, communication skills and employability chances, a new report has found.
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Based in Park Road Centre, Blackbrook, St Helens Borough Council’s Adult and Community Learning service offers a range of accredited and non-accredited courses such as caring for children, digital skills, confidence building,  ESOL (English for speaker of other languages maths, and English. These workshops or courses have helped residents throughout the borough - including resettled families from other countries - transform their lives while learning safely in face-to-face environments, as well as remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. 
A recent assessment carried out by an assessor from Matrix - the quality standard for organisations that deliver Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) sessions - confirmed the excellent quality of the Adult and Community Learning service, highlighting strengths in a number of areas, including ‘highly effective’ leadership and learner offer,  with learners touching on the ways they have been supported to develop, leading to further course, volunteering and job opportunities, and helping them with daily life – integration, culture and feeling part of the community.  
Learners said that they felt that the service had always ‘gone the extra mile’ to support them achieve their aims.  
Recent performance figures also highlight the success of the service in meeting its aims, objectives and targets, with an increase in enrolments over the previous year, while pass rates were 98 per cent, achievements 92 per cent and retention 99 per cent.  
No further recommendations for improvement were put forward in the report.  
Commenting on the findings, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business, Councillor Kate Groucutt, said: “This latest assessment report makes for excellent reading and is testimony to the hard-working staff who go the extra mile to help students achieve positive outcomes.   
“Over the years, Adult and Community Learning has helped so many residents from different backgrounds – from older generations looking to learn computer skills, to resettled families arriving in the borough hardly knowing a word of English.   
“The success stories from our Adult and Community Learning service are deeply inspiring and I hope they pave the way for more people who may be thinking of making a positive change to their life to come forward and reap the rewards. Our team will be there to help every step of the way.”  
Adult and Community Learning – rated ‘Good’ by education watchdog Ofsted – aims to support the local population in developing confidence and capability, encouraging the building of transferable skills to help raise aspirations, and enhance quality of life - enabling the lowest skilled to move towards higher level qualifications and improve employment prospects.    
For course information, call 01744 677315 or email adultlearning@sthelens.gov.uk