When it comes to delivering learning for adults in a community setting, the judges said that Inspire was “ahead of the game”.
Inspire is Nottinghamshire County Council’s spin-off adult and community learning service, which prides itself on offering “responsive, high-quality and continuously evolving learning opportunities to 785,800 Nottinghamshire inhabitants”, many of them living in areas of pronounced socioeconomic disadvantage.
Over the past four years, the provider has re-engineered its curriculum to offer a much broader set of learning pathways. Its community and family learning programmes were previously entirely subcontracted out; in 2019-20, 80 per cent of provision was being directly delivered, meaning that more funding went to frontline education. This provision is delivered in libraries across Nottinghamshire, helping to promote better access to these vital community assets.
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Programmes funded through the adult education budget offer progression opportunities for 16-19 learners and adults on to traineeships and a range of accredited courses. In 2018-19, 87 per cent of learners progressed from the Access to HE course to university study. In GCSE maths, 56 per cent of students obtained a grade 4 pass or better last summer compared with 22 per cent nationally. Programmes designed for residents not in education, employment or training have grown by 42 per cent over three years.
The judges said: “Inspire offers a real, joined-up community service in which the clients determine and help to shape the offer. The adult and community learning complements the 16-19 provision, and is a great inspiration to others in the sector.”