Praise For Scilly’s Lifelong Learning In Ofsted Inspection

The Council’s Lifelong Learning service has improved from ‘Satisfactory’ to ‘Good’ following an unannounced Ofsted inspection last month.

It’s being viewed as a big success for the team following the last assessment of their Carn Thomas-based service four years ago.

The inspection took place on St Mary’s from November 6th to the 9th but a trip to St Martin’s was also arranged to give the two inspectors a flavour of the challenges involved in providing services across a remote island community.

Inspectors were able to get a feeling for Scilly in the out-of-season months and speak to local tutors and learners, as well as mainland providers.

The ‘Good’ rating extended to each of the categories Ofsted came to examine, which are Outcomes for Learners, Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Leadership and Management, as well as Overall Effectiveness.

Their report states that recreational courses contribute significantly to community life and personal development and that short vocational courses are a great help to learners and local businesses in recognising and developing skills.

They say that opportunities to develop apprenticeships and courses at a higher level of study than the initial class are always likely to be limited, given Scilly’s location and the modest number of potential learners.

Inspectors urged provision of a wider range of courses and a look at more ways of allowing off-island learners to access courses.

And they recommended the forging of links with smaller employers to boost their awareness of the best qualification-based courses available.

Chairman of Community Services, Cllr Richard McCarthy, says the inspectors were surprised to find such an active unit in an area as remote as Scilly and were particularly impressed by the use of videoconferencing technology and the number of locally-based tutors providing courses.

He says the report is a big improvement from the last Ofsted inspection and the team at Carn Thomas deserve ‘a big pat on the back’ for their achievement.