AN adult community learning provider has earned a ‘good’ rating from a government watchdog, following an inspection.

ACL Essex, an organisation led by Essex Council, has received a positive rating from Ofsted after an inspection at its Witham Centre, in Spinks Lane, in December.

It received a ‘good’ rating across the board for its quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, adult learning programmes, apprenticeships, and overall effectiveness after its latest inspection.

The inspection found that “learners and apprentices demonstrate positive attitudes towards their studies” due to the caring and supporting environment.

The organisation has also created an “ambitious, responsive curriculum that meets the needs of the local community”.

Halstead Gazette: Supportive - An ACL Essex member of staff speaking to an individualSupportive - An ACL Essex member of staff speaking to an individual (Image: ACL Essex)

However, the report did note that apprentices are not aware of the wider career routes which are open to them in different sectors on completion of their apprenticeships.

At the time of the inspection, there were 201 apprentices, of whom 33 were aged 16 to 19.

According to the report, most of these apprentices studied business administrator, customer service practitioner, operations or departmental manager standards.

Overall, there were 2,159 adult learners studying accredited courses, and 1,030 adult learners studying community learning courses.

Halstead Gazette: Location - The entrance to the ACL Witham centreLocation - The entrance to the ACL Witham centre (Image: Google Maps)

On a positive note, the inspection found that ACL Essex’s leadersensured learners and apprentices with special educational needs or disabilities “receive the high-quality support they need”.

ACL Essex provides a range of courses in the categories of English, maths, qualifications and skills for employment, mental health, wellbeing, and more.

It also offers apprenticeships as well as supported learning courses for individuals with learning disabilities or autism.

Across Essex, there are ACL centres in Witham, Maldon, Colchester, Clacton, Harlow, Basildon, Brentwood, and Chelmsford.

Moving forward, Ofsted has advised that ACL Essex ensures adult learners and apprentices are aware of local safeguarding risks in the areas they live and work.

ACL Essex principal Lisa Jarentowski said: “We’re delighted to gain a ‘good’ grade from Ofsted.

“We want everyone to feel they can reach their career goals.

“We’re always looking to develop our employees, and now Ofsted has recognised this.

“It’s an amazing achievement. I’m so proud of all our employees and learners.”