York Learning Strategic Service Plan :  Actions 2020/21 Academic Year  - July Update




Target date

Performance 19/20

Target for 20/21

Progress to date




Consolidate partnership working with North Yorkshire County Council and agree a strategy for future collaborative working


New Joint Head of Service to be recruited


New structure to be Place to allow joint working

Permanent Joint Head Post now recruited

Harriet Serra joined as Joint Executive Head of Service on 1st Dec 19. Much of her role to date has been at a strategic level, working in collaboration with economic regeneration, skills, LEP and wider business development.


The opportunity to evaluate the services in both normal and, more latterly, more challenging and testing circumstances has allowed for a significant reflection on any inefficiencies, overlaps in roles and potential for joining up skills and resource, knowledge and income generation across the two authorities.


A period of further change and challenge will come over the next 18 months as the service is quickly but carefully realigned to meet the needs of communities and employers in response to the Covid-19 crisis.


The adult learning service and the concept of lifelong learning is central to economic recovery and therefore the service(s) have a pivotal role to play and the HoS will be dedicating significant energy to enthusing and engaging with service within CYC and in the wider skills sector to ensure that the service is front and centre in the process. Regardless of individual viewpoints on the current administration, it is clear that lifelong learning is a hot topic and we must capitalise on this renewed focus.


The prospect of devolution presents an exciting opportunity for services. However, the ability to be fully sighted on opportunities to bid for funding, be the first to respond to community needs (in so far as our funding allows) will be central to our success and, as such, will require the HoS to be able to rely on senior managers in the services to work within clearly delineated roles and with clear focus.



Continue to secure and extend provision for High needs support students as part of a “Personalised Learning”  for 16-19 year olds and for 19-24 with learning difficulties and disabilities





This year will be a challenging one. The service will continue to deliver the vast majority of its offer as blended learning, a format with which the sider team and its learning community has become familiar. Operating this way allows for continued contact with learners, keeps our colleagues safe and lends the opportunity for all to develop their skills in creating, delivering and assessing learning online.  

Learners affected by the Covid-19 situation will be offered extended places as they may well have been limited in their ability to achieve. Our high quality provision is subject to ever increasing demand. The service is hampered by its limited ESFA funding contract and will therefore continue to put robust business cases to our regional ESFA contact in support of growth.  

The service will submit a separate business case with regard to High Needs learner number increase for the year 2020-2021.



Deliver 4 jobs fairs as part of a strategy to support York residents into work




In discussion with Job Centre and CYC Skills colleagues ( regarding Virtual events

The current restrictions on ‘social gatherings’ have inevitably put these events on hold.


Positive steps are being taken with the CYC Skills team to bring together the apprenticeships fair, jobs fairs and employer engagement events – we anticipate that this will have demonstrable benefits for both areas, not least for sharing of local labour market intelligence and networking opportunities.


The Job Centre has held one virtual Job Fair, the service was successfully engaged with this.


We propose further virtual Job Fairs, concentrating on sector specific themes, e.g. rail, social care, hospitality.




Continuing to develop further English for Speakers of Other Languages programmes in response to demand




Decrease in Learners from 18/19

This provision has continued to develop/grow. Whilst new refugee resettlement intake has slowed and some have entered employment, *wider ESOL learner participation has increased.  (Last year half of the ESOL provision was refugee resettlement, 44/90; this year it’s 24/85.) 


Whilst potential growth is clear to our service experts, we continue to be limited by access to a city centre premises and will be seeking advice and guidance from colleagues in economic regeneration and property services within CYC to assist.


Learning spaces at West Offices are too small to facilitate social distancing and even at Igen/Railway Institute/Explore, class sizes would have to be much smaller


Provision is currently online via Zoom, - ESOL would normally include a huge amount of interaction, paired work, and movement, which is much harder to manage online, particularly for lower skills levels.




Revise and develop new Family Learning Programmes to reinvigorate the programme and develop further support for learners





We have retained the popular How Children Learn/Keep Up model which progresses learners onto accredited provision, but have simplified and redeveloped the Early Years models in close collaboration with Early Years and School Teams both within CYC and with settings/school staff.


Early Start for parents and carers with 1-2 yr olds has been developed to align with  NSPCC Look, Say, Sing, Play initiative.


Learn Together – a remodelled range of short courses for parents of pre-school and Early Years children covering phonics, early reading and number skills and learning through play.


Get Ready for School – a direct outcome of the Early Talk for York work giving parents/carers pointers to support children’s communication and independence ready to start school. 

Early Talk for York project in the west of the city, brought in £56K* over 3 years.


FL tutors working in schools and participation by FH in Social Mobility, Early Years Strategy and Schools Covid response work has created new and stronger links with wider teams and project groups.



*Agreed with Shine that some of this may be deferred over a longer period because of disruption caused by Covid, eg tutors could no longer go into the schools.


Introduce new digital skills entry points to target those digitally excluded

New Action


Entry to Level 1



From August 20 everyone is entitled to achieve digital skills knowledge up to level 1 for free.  During Covid many of those digitally disengaged have found themselves forced to engage online in a way they never envisaged.  


The service will continue innovate in its delivery model and will focus on teaching digital skills.  Up to December 2019, a third of our learners would not enrol online.  Despite the success of our new MIS system, the less IT literate learner will require assistance to enrol.


We intend to make online enrolment the first step in improving the IT skills of members of this particular learning community. We are confident that this will lead to them accessing further learning opportunities and accredited pathways. This can only help in addressing the skills gaps that these learners harbour, with subsequent positive outcomes in relation to their employability prospects.


Secure a new MIS system for the service to improve and develop data compliance and competence

Feb 20

New Booking system live December 19

Continue to develop to meet recording learner progress and ability to produce reports to tutors & managers to improve quality and efficiency.

Online Booking access completed


Online Registers completed


OnTrack access to tutors Sept 20


Modules for recording of learner progress (Pastoral Logs) and data manipulation (Data Mainer) going through procurement.   


Systems are online and being refined based on reflections from service users and their experiences.


Tutors au fait with online registers, and facilitating an easy win for audit.


Timely installation of new modules has enabled York Learning to market and engage with learners outside of the classroom.   


MIS has been implemented ahead of schedule to enable bookings for interview slots/skills assessments (due to Covid-19) which is proving successful.


Managers access to timely learner information is still in development with Tribal & BI team in CYC.  


Learners are able to find, book and pay for their courses online.  Their account holds their course information and permits secure, GDPR compliant communication with them.


Payments for courses are connecting via Civica Pay and accurately reporting into finance teams.


Learner Reports for ESFA still effective for regulatory performance but ineffective from manages points of view.  Improved ability on how to see attendance etc. for managers is needed and will be met by the module – Data Miner.


Regulatory requirements for learner’s progress records can be met with ‘Pastoral Logs’. The service intended to install this module as part of its natural development, however the Covid-19 crisis initiated an accelerated response and the investment is anticipated to more than return.  



Continue to improve success rates in those programmes that are at risk of falling below minimum standards particularly apprenticeships


13 areas in Minimum Standards

9 areas out of Minimum standards



Apprenticeships programmes above minimum levels of performance now. There are 4 areas relating to except 4 remaining areas relating to Health & Social Care; Health & Social Care Framework at Level 2 (50% in 19/20) but out of Minimum standards for the year 20/21.


Health & Social Care Level 3 Framework (1 historic learners) 0% out of minimum standards for 20/21


Health & Social Care (Leadership) L5 50% 19/20 and 0% 20/21 (legacy learners since we stopped recruitment 18 months ago)


As previously reported legacy learners which has continue to impact overall achievement rates until their end dates have passed. 


Overall, the service will be taken out of MS, we await the results of examinations and these are delayed due to Covid-19.


ESFA are in receipt of a regular update on the MS situation and are cognisant of the matters arising. Our local ESFA contact is supportive and positive on our position.



Performance Targets 2020/21


The following are some general performance information that the service uses as part of its performance management measures.  These are further split into smaller “subject targets” for individual managers and monitored on a quarterly basis.




Target area







1st Quarter

Full year







Fee income






Unlike most of the targets in this plan, this is a financial year target.  Due to Covid-19 it has had to be significantly reduced - Summer term bringing in no profit and overheads of 90k.  Autumn term will likely suffer recued income.


Student enrolments to non-qualification bearing courses






Inevitably, due to the impact of taking learning out of the community settings, we are behind target by 750. However, we are working extremely hard to mitigate the impact on the service and those that it serves.  Already we have reduced anticipated learner numbers for the rest of the year, but the service is making inroads with regard to re-engaging learners for non-accredited provision and encouraging/enabling them to get involved with learning at a distance


As the service does not have a property secured for community learning provision, we cannot safely return to the hired venues that are usually booked.  This undoubtedly has greater impact on vulnerable groups.



Total number of 16-18 Apprenticeships

( Starts)

(Carried over)








There are high numbers in this age bracket however they are mainly carried over from previous years.  Moving forward this group will be decreased to ESFA sanctions which means significant reduction in numbers.  The lifting of sanctions is yet to be confirmed by the ESFA (anticipated August 2020).



Total number of 19+ Apprenticeships (Starts)

Carried over






Below targets for this year due to ESFA sanctions on all H&S frameworks & standards. Supporting in Schools, Childcare at L2 and L3 since last year due to minimum standards.  We anticipate resumption of recruitment to Childcare, at least, in 2020/2021. 


As a counter to this the service has focussed on Leaner Loan provision, which is proving popular and offers much more stability. A further 58 learners have been recruited to L3 Loans.


GCSE English




To be set





Targets are determined by funding which is shared across accredited programmes and has not increased. These numbers represent individual qualification aims and not learners.   Enquiries on GCSEs have fallen this year – partly due to lower unemployment/access to courses.  Advertising is being stepped up this year.


GCSE Maths




To be set




See above


Functional English






Targets determined as above. Numbers in community venues have decreased this year mainly as a result of cuts in outreach activity. This is countered from a funding point of view by increase in ESOL numbers.  


One of the aims of the IAG programmes above is to bring in more referrals across English and maths provision. Our marketing strategy is being adapted in order to recruit more learners to these programmes.



Functional Maths






See above



Full time 16-18 Foundation Learning Programme






This programme has undergone a change in curriculum with revised eligibility criteria and induction process.


This has increased both retention rate achievement rates.  Current position: 13 enrolled (4 rolling over) and 3 who have just been allocated assessment interviews.


Under normal circumstances our data is better in this area, by virtue of the fact that ‘drop outs’ have a lesser impact on overall figures. The ratios with lower learner numbers are tacit.



Full time 18-25 High Needs Support students  personalised learning programmes






We anticipate a significant increase in numbers of High Needs Students coming through our provision in academic year 18/19.


The majority of this provision is sub-contracted with Blueberry Academy, Choose2youth and United Response


Functional Skills English 16-18






These represent a very small cohort of learners  within our foundation learning and  personalised learning programmes.


Functional Skills Maths 16-18






See above



Overall success  rate for service





Too early to predict

At this time of year, the service cannot accurately report this data set. The impact of Covid-19 will doubtless be manifest in achievement rates and much of the unknown element in the overall data is due to unconfirmed projected grades.


Other subject areas such as Apprenticeships, ICT and Bookkeeping have been unable to proceed until exam restrictions have been lifted.  Sessions are resuming but will delay these results for some time.