A glowing report from Estyn on the Greater Gwent Adult Learning Partnership

23 April 2024

The Greater Gwent Adult Learning Partnership, which is led by Coleg Gwent has received a glowing commendation following a review conducted by Estyn, Wales’ education inspectorate. The report highlights the transformative impact of the partnership’s work on learners and communities alike. 

The Greater Gwent Adult Learning Partnership is a well-established collaboration comprising five local authority core providers, (Aneurin Leisure (Blaenau Gwent), Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, Torfaen) with the college taking a strategic leadership role. The partnership offers a range of courses and clubs tailored to meet the diverse needs of its communities, including essential skills, independent living skills, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), ICT, employability and leisure and wellbeing courses.  

During the inspection process, Estyn inspectors evaluate every aspect of the partnership’s operations, as well as meeting with key stakeholders including the chair of the partnership, senior leaders, tutors and, most importantly, the learners.  

By visiting sessions, observing interactions, and reviewing documentation, the inspectors gained a complete understanding of the partnership’s strengths and areas for development. 

The key highlights identified within the report were: 

A commitment to empowering learners 

One of the standout features of the partnership highlighted in the report is its commitment to learner empowerment. Learners spoke passionately about the positive impact of the partnership on their lives, saying that they would be “lost without the centre” which has become a lifeline after challenging life circumstances. Learners in digital skills classes are particularly appreciative of learning about cyber security and value learning how to keep themselves safe when browsing, banking, and shopping online.  

An inclusive and supportive learning experience  

Estyn’s report praises the tutors’ dedication to creating inclusive learning environments where every individual feels valued and supported. The report stated that “tutors create warm and welcoming environments that learners feel comfortable entering.”  

The partnership is noted as flexible and responsive, delivering programmes at times and in venues to suit learner needs, with well-structured and person-centred plans. Tutors work with learners to create meaningful targets such as “I am doing this to achieve my long-term goal of becoming a midwife” or “I am supporting my son to achieve GCSE maths.” The partnership’s emphasis on mental health and well-being also resonated deeply with inspectors, who noted the tangible benefits experienced by learners. To support learners’ mental health – 17 tutors across the partnership successfully achieved the L2 Accredited Mental Health First Aid course, seven of these progressed to the L3 Award in Supervising/Leading First Aid for Mental Health. These courses enabled staff to have a better understanding of mental health conditions and to signpost learners to appropriate organisation. 

One learner said: “I wouldn’t be able to manage without this support” and “It’s very important as it’s the one day of the week when we know where we are.” 

A culture of continuous improvement 

Estyn’s report also commended the partnership’s robust self-evaluation processes and quality improvement planning. By carefully analysing learner assessment data, monitoring progress, and asking for feedback, the partnership ensures that its programmes remain relevant to changing needs. The observation activities also support the partnership in monitoring the quality of delivery, identifying good practices, and developing those staff in need of support. Finally, the commitment to continuous improvement is reflected in the positive outcomes achieved by learners across a wide range of programmes.   

As we celebrate the achievements of the Greater Gwent Adult Learning Partnership highlighted in Estyn’s report, we acknowledge the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the partnership. 

At Coleg Gwent, we are set to build upon the successes and will continue to help in making a meaningful difference in the lives of learners and communities across Greater Gwent. 

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