AN ‘OUTSTANDING’ rating has been awarded to Oldham Council’s Lifelong Learning Service for the second time.
Ofsted awarded top marks across the board, meaning the service has maintained the excellent levels it attained from its last inspection in 2009.
The service offers a diverse range of part-time courses for adults, helping learners to develop confidence, creativity, knowledge and skills and achieve qualifications which improve their employment prospects.
The staff deliver courses across local venues, including Lifelong Learning Centres, schools, children’s centres, libraries and other community facilities.
Ofsted’s report highlighted the achievements of learners, with success rates being much higher than the national average.
They also praised the development of employability skills and the overall provision, including the creation of an environment where learners feel welcome, safe and valued.
Inspectors also noted the quality of provision, outstanding engagement with disadvantaged learners and the strength of leadership, management and governance.
Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “This report is a great endorsement of our Lifelong Learning Service.
“To have Ofsted confirm that as a local authority we are delivering a hugely popular and effective service, in all areas, is great news and is a source of great pride for all involved.
“This achievement is even more remarkable when you consider that we are one of the largest providers of adult education in Greater Manchester.
“A key part of our success is we regularly consult learners, communities and partners to ensure services respond to demands while also continuously improving what is on offer.
“This outstanding result demonstrates our strong commitment to widening access to learning opportunities and reducing the barriers that can sometimes prevent adults from studying and enhancing their prospects.
“The service also works alongside our campaign to Get Oldham Working as we are committed to providing people of all ages with the skills so they can be a success in their chosen career.
“I’d like to congratulate our staff, and all our learners, for their part in achieving this amazing ‘outstanding’ result.”
Six years ago the Lifelong Learning Service was confirmed as a national leader in the field after becoming the first local authority adult education provider to achieve a full marks rating.