Wolverhampton's "Outstanding" Adult Education Service has been singled out for praise by the Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills in his annual report published today (Tuesday 1 December, 2015).

The service was rated outstanding in January following a rigorous investigation by Ofsted inspectors in December 2014, who found outcomes for learners, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and the effectiveness of leadership and management all to be outstanding.

And Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw highlighted the achievements of the City of Wolverhampton Council run service in his annual report - with the head of the service Sue Knottenbelt invited to its official launch in London on Tuesday (1 December, 2015).

In his report, Sir Michael wrote: "The management of staff performance was particularly effective in assuring a very high standard of teaching and learning.

"Tutors and support staff had realistically high expectations for all learners. They were particularly skilled at developing imaginative and interactive learning activities that maintained learners' concentration and inspired them to reach their full potential and produce very high quality work.

"Strategic leadership was impressive. Service leaders had developed a very effective strategy to cope with reduced funding and yet maximise the number of learners who progressed to further education or into jobs.

"They frequently conducted very thorough research on the local economy, business profile and business opportunities and used this information well to adapt the range and content of their learning programmes to align them with the employability needs of the local community.

"The large English for Speakers of Other Languages programme acted as a very successful gateway for learners to access wider educational opportunities or to enter local employment. A high proportion of learners gained full or part time employment or became volunteers."

Sue said: "I am delighted that the Adult Education Service has received this recognition and has been highlighted as an example of best practice. I'd like to thank our staff and students for their hard work which has made this possible - it is great news for the Adult Education Service, for the council and for Wolverhampton."

Councillor Claire Darke, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education, said: "Our Adult Education Service is one of only a small number of adult skills and employment services in the country to be rated outstanding and I am proud that its success has been shared with a national audience in this way.

"I'd like to pay tribute to the commitment and dedication of our hard working Adult Education Service staff who achieved this recognition and, coupled with the improvements we are driving through in our primary and secondary schools, this is superb news for students in Wolverhampton, whatever their age."

The Adult Education Service delivers a wide range of courses, including arts and crafts, creative studies, languages, English, Maths, ICT and teaching and care, from more than 50 venues around the city including the City Learning Quarter on Old Hall Street, with more than 4,000 students taking courses every year. Some courses are free or available at a reduced rate, depending upon an individual's circumstances.

To find out more, please visit Type=links;Linkid=2102;Title=Wolverhampton Adult Education Service;Target=_blank; or call 01902 558180, or come along to the advice, guidance and enrolment sessions taking place on Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 December 2015 from 10am to 7pm at Old Hall Street, Foyer Building, St George's Parade, Wolverhampton.

  • released: Tuesday 1 December, 2015