Ofsted, the official regulator of standards in schools and colleges in England, has rated the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) “Good” in all areas of inspection.
The WEA is the UK’s largest provider of adult community learning, delivering “stimulating and interesting sessions” to a “broad cultural mix” of over 74,000 students.
The report by Ofsted highlighted that “many students benefit from programmes that give them the knowledge, skills and confidence to volunteer within their community” and that the WEA helps “improve the life chances of disadvantaged communities and individuals” across England. It also said that students “improve their personal, social and employability skills as a result of attending classes”.
Ofsted’s inspection praised the organisation for skilfully managing good education over a large area and in a multitude of community settings. It states that “a key strength of the organisation has been, and continues to be, the strong historical bond that exists between employees and volunteer members of the organisation”.
In welcoming the report, Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of the WEA, said:
“I am delighted Ofsted has independently confirmed that we give high quality support to help students back into learning as well as take advanced courses, seize cultural opportunities and develop work-related skills.
“The WEA may be over 100 years old but is still as relevant today as ever. Our research shows 71 per cent of students in work gained skills that could be used in a job, while 75 per cent of those unemployed felt more confident about finding a job in the future. 93 per cent also said courses helped them make new friends. We are helping to change lives and inspire communities across the country, which is vital for our economy and society.
“The WEA is the only national adult education provider and has classes in over 95 per cent of local authority areas, with four times more students than the biggest outstanding provider in the further education and skills sector. We are committed to bringing great teaching and learning into every local community. We know education can transform lives and this report is a tremendous boost for our students, tutors, volunteers and staff across the country.”
To view the full report, visit http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/130419.