Manchester City Council

Ofsted praise Manchester Adult Education Service, as learners achieve their goals

Alisha Heathcote & Jo Cottam at Abraham Moss Centre (Copyright Eric Howard, 2013 - www.karenwrightphoto.co.uk/)

Learners and inspectors alike have praised Manchester Adult Education Service (MAES), which is successfully giving local people the skills and confidence they need to secure sustainable employment.

Ofsted inspectors say that MAES is performing well in all categories, in a report which can be downloaded from their website.

After inspecting MAES' classes, Ofsted found that learners were making good progress on their courses – while learners canvassed by inspectors said they felt their studies were helping to develop their personal and social skills, improving their quality of life in the process.

Ofsted judged the quality of teaching and the effectiveness of management to be good – with a very high proportion of learners completing their courses successfully.

Alisha Heathcote, 26, is due to start work at the E-Act Academy in Blackley next month, after completing her Level 2 Teaching Assistant qualification with MAES. 

Alisha, from Blackley, said: "When you get in touch with MAES, you can explain your personal situation and they will tell you what support is available so that you can do a course.

"My child needed to be looked after while I was studying for a day and a half a week. I was on income support at the time, but MAES were able to fund childcare, which was crucial.

"By doing the study, along with my placement at the E-Act Academy, I’ve been learning about the environment I will be going to work in. Now the school want to take me on after I’ve finished my course - I can’t wait to get started."

Councillor Sue Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The latest Ofsted report recognises that MAES is helping people to develop skills that boost their self-esteem, as well as their employment prospects.

"MAES plays a vital role in our strategy to reduce unemployment and its staff deserve great credit for the hard work they do to improve the lives of Manchester residents."

Many courses are completely free, including all English, Maths and beginner computer courses. Other courses, such as childcare, advanced computer courses and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), are free for unemployed people actively seeking work, or cost from just £3 per hour for those in work - with help available for people who are on a low income.

To find out more about the full range of courses on offer in Manchester, visit www.manchester.gov.uk/adulted, or call into your local Adult Learning Centre.

CASE STUDY

After leaving school, Alisha Heathcote, from Blackley, went to college before spending time in the Army. She went on to work for a solicitor’s firm, but was made redundant after five years.

Alisha then took a job working night shifts at a snooker hall. Later, while pregnant with her second child, she decided that the time was right to pursue her long-held ambition to work with children.

"I was really keen to work in education, but I had no relevant experience", said Alisha, 26.

"I spoke to MAES and they recommended that I should do a ‘prep’ course with them. That meant doing one day a week of study for eight weeks, at the Avenue Learning Centre in Blackley.

"The prep course assessed my numeracy and literacy skills, so once I had done it, I knew that I was capable of moving on to do the Teaching Assistant course, along with a Level 1 Maths course.

"It had been a few years since I left school, so it was good to get back into the mindset of reading textbooks again."

After the birth of her second child, Alisha was keen to get back to work as soon as possible. With the support of MAES tutor Jo Cottam, she is currently completing her Level 2 Teaching Assistant qualification, on an 18-week ‘fast-track’ programme.

"You can do it over a year if that suits your circumstances, but I opted to get it completed faster", said Alisha, whose children are aged two years and 4 ½ months.

"Jo said she felt I was capable of doing it in the shorter period of time and has been very supportive"

After impressing teaching staff during her placement at E-Act Academy in Blackley, Alisha has been offered full-time employment, pending completion of her course in January. Her long-term goal is to progress to a teaching degree in university, after gaining her Level 3 Teaching Assistant qualification.

And she is keen to let people know about the potential benefits of enrolling on a new course with MAES.

"I would definitely recommend it", said Alisha. "When you talk to MAES, you can explain your personal situation and they will tell you what support is available so that you can do a course.

"My child needed to be looked after while I was studying for a day and a half a week. I was on income support at the time, but MAES were able to fund childcare, which was crucial.

"By doing the study, along with my placement at E-Act Academy, I’ve been learning about the environment I will be going to work in. The school have been really helpful and I’m really pleased that they want to take me on after I’ve finished my course. I can’t wait to get started."

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