Croydon’s adult learning service, CALAT, is working towards its ambition of achieving an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating by the time of its next inspection.
The award-winning service has just retained its rating of ‘good’ following a visit from the Ofsted inspectors. It has been found to have an excellent record for ensuring learners don’t drop out of courses, and the inspection only found a few minor issues that stopped it getting top marks.
The newly published report praises the service on numerous counts, and highlights how well learners do in their studies. Inspectors also noted how highly the council values CALAT and how the service’s recent restructure, made necessary by reduced government funding, has been used to effectively and successfully refocus the range of courses on offer.
Their report noted how managers had taken an opportunity to better understand the educational and training needs of their local communities and employers to help them improve the curriculum. All learning now takes place in good quality venues that are appropriately resourced and the report highlights how CALAT provides a safe teaching environment for staff and learners alike.
“The praise from Ofsted’s inspectors for the quality of teaching and the strength of the leadership and management of CALAT is something I think everyone who uses the service will warmly applaud. I know from speaking to people who have undertaken courses just how much they get from the experience, and it’s great to have independent validation of just how good CALAT continues to be. We recently made the decision to keep CALAT within the council, and this, together with this new report, has given staff and learners alike a real boost. The council really wants the service to flourish, and we are now in early talks with neighbouring authorities to see how we can work together to benefit from shared resources and shared experience.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
Where areas for change were noted the inspectors also pointed out that managers already recognised and understood where and how this should happen. They made the observation that there is good capacity within the service to make and sustain any necessary improvements.
CALAT has been delivering courses to residents in the borough for over 70 years. It is one of the largest adult education providers in the country offering more than 500 part-time courses every year from three centres and a number of community venues across the borough.
The programme includes a wide variety of recreational, academic, pre-vocational and vocational courses. Subject areas include; health & social care, creative arts, business administration, ICT, languages, English and maths, English for speakers of other languages, childcare and education, and courses for adults with learning disabilities.
CALAT also works with businesses and employers to deliver training aimed at raising the skills level of employees and developing their workforce.