An innovative education network which serves a largely rural area, has received positive grades across the board by Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales.
The Gwynedd and Ynys Môn Community Education Network, which has over 1,000 learners across Gwynedd and Anglesey, was initially established in 2006. The partnership in its current form is made up of Coleg Menai and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, Adult Learning Wales, Gwynedd and Isle of Anglesey local authorities together with representatives from Job Centre Plus, Citizens Advice Bureau, Bangor University, the Welsh for Adult Centre, local County Voluntary Councils and a number of smaller providers.
The network's aim is to develop a coherent, comprehensive and high-quality range of community learning opportunities which respond to learners' needs and lead them to further education, employment or training, and also promote well-being.
Estyn judged the Network good on five main criteria: 'Standards', 'Well-being and attitudes to learning', 'Teaching and learning experiences', 'Care, support and guidance', and 'Leadership and management'.
The report states that "learners produce strong written or practical work and make sound progress in their learning" and that "teachers provide well-sequenced and well-paced lessons that help the learner to develop skills, knowledge and competence sequentially".
According to the latest Welsh Government Learner Outcome Report for Adult Community Learning the Network's successful completion data at 96% is excellent - being 7% above the benchmark and is the highest in Wales.
Sharon Owen, ESOL and Lifelong Manager at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, said:
The learner is at the centre of all that we do and it's important to us to provide the best learning opportunities possible and this in itself has been challenging in what has been a time of austerity. The positive outcomes of this latest inspection has confirmed that the standards have remained consistent and I'm pleased that the determination and commitment of our learners has been recognised as well, of course, as the expertise and dedication of our teachers and support staff.
Previous student Angharad, who studied Introduction to Childcare in Holyhead, said:
Attending Coleg Menai has totally changed my life. My work fits around my family life, we are all so much happier. I'm financially better off, we've moved house and have gone on more holidays. The work is so rewarding. It was hard but it was totally worth it. I'd recommend anyone to give it a try.
Nia Gruffydd, Service Manager at Gwynedd Council, said:
Adult Community Learning is important to enhance skills and job opportunities, but is also vital for people’s sense of well-being, and learners gain from meeting other learners as well. Being part of the Gwynedd and Ynys Môn Community Education Network is important for Gwynedd Council as it allows us to focus on delivering the kind of courses and learning opportunities that the people of Gwynedd would like to see being provided, using various community locations such as Libraries.
Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales Chief Executive, Kathryn Robson commented:
We are delighted to be a partner in the Gwynedd and Môn Community Education Network. Working together helps us to expand our curriculum offer and deliver a wide range of provision across the region. It is a pleasure to be working with like-minded providers who are keen to engage in learner-centred provision to meet community needs.
The Network is always keen to help people back into work, further training or indeed to support members of the community by offering well-being courses in these challenging times. As such, they are encouraging members of the public to participate in a survey to ensure that courses can be planned to meet the needs of the community. Both local authorities have arranged to host the Adult Community Learning Questionnaire on their websites. The questionnaire can be found at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/addysg-oedolion-adult-education
More information on courses offered can be found on www.gllm.ac.uk/adult-and-community or www.adultlearning.wales and on partners' social media channels.