Decision Session - Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities

22 February 2022



Report of the Assistant Director of Customer & Communities


York Learning – Self-Assessment Report 2020/21



1.        This report presents York Learning’s Self-Assessment Report (SAR) for the academic year 20/21.  The full report is attached at Annex 1 with performance data at the end of the report.

2.        The final report is sent to Ofsted February 2022.


3.        The Executive Member is asked to consider the findings of the service’s self-assessment report and make comments and recommendations for the production and publication of the final report.

Reason: To help monitor the service and ensure robust governance arrangements.


4.        York Learning is a council service which delivers a range of learning programmes to support people into employment, to improve their skills and to support their personal development. The service is funded almost exclusively from external contract funding and fee income. For the academic year 2021/22 this will be just over £3m.  Our funding spend was over the 90% threshold set and any claw back in funding was related to late initiatives set due to Covid which we were unable to respond in the time set or related to activities we could not develop due to Covid, such as Traineeships where placements were unavailable. 

5.        This report is an important element in enabling the service to demonstrate to Ofsted that it has secure and robust governance arrangements in place.

6.        The SAR leads to a number of Quality Improvement Plans (QIPs), which are dynamic documents used to monitor and record quality improvement actions at a service level.  It also helps to inform the production of the next strategic plan which will be presented to the Executive Member in July.

Key Issues

7.        There has been significant improvement in education and training achievement across the service from moving from 77.4% in 19/20 to 81.7% in 20/21.  Whilst this still doesn’t exceed/match pre-Covid figures of 84.4% we feel this is still very good considering the challenges for learners over the last year. 

8.        The apprenticeship programmes have formally been removed from ESFA sanctions due to the improvements this area has made.  And whilst achievement is still low at 61.50% this is related to legacy learners that had been unable to complete due to Covid impact on the Health and Social Care and Childcare sectors. 

9.        York Learning continue to struggle to provide premises for more face to face learning in a Covid safe environment which is also suitable for adults.  This is due to not having their own premises or venue.  We continue to search for a suitable site that enables adults from across the city to reach easily but which doesn’t have an impact on increasing costs for services to learners.

10.    The High Needs (SEND) programmes continue to provide good outcomes for young people to support their ongoing preparation for adulthood learning.  Increased partnership building is increasing choice for these young people in their chosen area of study.  Good support is provided to all subcontractors to ensure the offer reflects good quality and systems for the best achievements and outcomes for learners.

11.    The 16-18 Study Programme has continued with smaller numbers due to Covid class size restrictions.  Learners are motivated by an excellent supportive team and achievement has increased this year from 60.5% in 19/20 to 78.8% for 20/21.  On top of that 79% of young people on this programme has progressed into positive outcomes after finishing their programme of study into employment, further study or volunteering.

12.    The service continues to develop its offer to reflect the outcomes expected of the combined authority.  New partnerships have been formed and social prescribing has started to be rolled out with the CVS and Kyra.  New education programmes are being developed with York’s Menfulness, Men’s Shed, York Carers and Young Carers whilst moving some of our wider creative and fitness learning into full costs provision so that we can retain an offer for those most in need for York.

13.    We have suffered, for a second year, a drop in income due to Covid through 20/21 of £86,266.  This is mainly due to the provision having to be fully online during the summer of 19/20 and then through most of autumn, spring and summer of 20/21.  Whilst being online was helpful for many, and for many new learners recruited through lockdowns, it wasn’t the way some of our learners wanted to engage.  This was related to those who access our classes to allay their sense of isolation and loneliness; or due to their lack of equipment or Wi-Fi; or for those who need greater support due to their starting points in learning essential skills such as English, maths and Digital Skills. 

14.    Unfortunately, for many being online was not an option they would, or could choose.  I am happy to report that this academic year saw a return to the classroom for our wider community learning learners and our income has already exceeded what was earned in 20/21 which is a promising start.  


15.        The plan is presented for consultation and approval. It has gone through some internal service consultation with senior managers, ‘peer partners’ who are also adult learning providers across the region and our governance board, and is in part a result of a rigorous self-assessment processes which are ongoing.


Options and Analysis

16.    It is open to the Executive Member to suggest any amendment to the SAR before York Learning send to update with Ofsted accordingly.

Corporate Objectives

17.        York Learning’s plan is set within the context of the council plan responding to providing people with a ‘good’ place that offers them access to quality education and opportunities; a decent job and standard of living; a sense of fairness and inclusion; good health and wellbeing; strong cultural knowledge and a safe community.


18.        The council plan is structured around eight core outcomes, which in turn reflect the key components of a good quality of life for our residents. These are:

Well-paid jobs and an inclusive economy

• A greener and cleaner city

• Getting around sustainably

• Good health and wellbeing

• Safe communities and culture for all

• Creating homes and world-class infrastructure

• A better start for children and young people

• An open and effective council

19.        Our plan also responds to a number of sub regional, regional and national policy objectives.  


20.    Finance:  Any actions or financial implications of the SAR are contained with service budgets already set for 2021/22. The service is fully funded via external contracts and grants.

21.    The report has no Human Resources, Equalities, Legal, Crime and Disorder, Information Technology, Property or other implications.

Risk Management

22.    In compliance with the Council’s risk management strategy the main risks identified associated with the areas of work covered in this report are operational:  affecting delivery of the Council’s business objectives and its image and reputation.  Measured in terms of impact and likelihood, the risk score has been assessed at 10 which equates to “Low”.  This is acceptable but means that regular monitoring will be required of the Quality Improvement Plans.




Contact Details


Chief Officer Responsible for the report:

Angela Padfield

Head of York Learning

Charlie Croft

Assistant Director of Customer & Communities


Report Approved



1 February 2022

Wards Affected: 



For further information please contact the author of the report




Annex 1 – Self-Assessment Report including Data tables



ESFA - Education and Skills Funding Agency

Ofsted - Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills

QIPs - Quality Improvement Plans

SAR – Self-Assessment Report

SEND - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities