EDUCATION inspectors have given a glowing report to Argyll and Bute’s community learning and development service in Helensburgh and Lomond.

Officers from Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education will make no further visits to the service after being satisfied by their findings from a follow-up visit.

Their new report has hailed the partnership work being done with parties including Argyll College, Hermitage Academy and Jean’s Bothy.

It also states that confidence is “improving” in the leadership across staff at all levels of Community Learning and Development (CLD).

Argyll and Bute Council approved plans to transfer the running of the CLD service to LiveArgyll at its full meeting in April 2021.

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An inspector said in the report: “At a local level, CLD practitioners are working better together. Communication between senior leaders and staff has improved.

“Community learning staff now feel valued, listened to and trusted. Staff feel empowered to lead and be more creative in the development and delivery of CLD.

“A newly formed CLD strategic partnership is responsible for the development of the CLD 2021-24 plan, its monitoring and reporting to the local authority. Partners representation has improved.

“The vision, values and aims in the CLD plan are better understood across the partnership. The plan is well informed by feedback from a consultation process.

“Where there are gaps, there are plans to revisit during year one. Key milestones and a timeline for other areas of priority are outlined.

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“However, it is important that these areas are monitored by the local authority and CLD strategic partnership regularly to ensure they are progressed timeously.

“Although at an early stage, reporting on progress to the local authority will be informed by CLD partners contributions against the five themes and the key performance indicators within their CLD plan. These themes inform the targeting of partners’ resources and CLD service and team plans.

“This is now clearer and more measurable than in the past. The use of management information systems is improving. As a result, staff better recognise their contribution to shared outcomes.”

The inspector added: “Partnership working remains strong. Partners continue to work together to maximise their combined resources including Argyll College and work with Hermitage Academy.

“Jean’s Bothy continues to offer learners, including those with mental health issues, a safe space to learn and gain accreditation.

“Young people’s engagement in the Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) is ensuring that their voice is heard by local authority officers and their partners.

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“The YAP are now starting to influence decision-making and have produced a ‘young person friendly’ version of the Children’s Services Plan.

“CLD are collaborating more effectively than in the past. However, the CLD partnership has scope to develop a better planned approach to this way of working.

“Understandably, the local authority has been responding to the challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. These have had a significant impact on the work of the local authority.

“The local authority and its CLD partners are implementing plans to support recovery. They are addressing the recommendations from the original inspection successfully.

“As a result, we will make no more visits to the Helensburgh and Lomond area in connection with the original inspection.”

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