City of York Council

York Learning


Self-Assessment Report






York Learning Logo colour tranpsarent.emfCYC_logo.jpg



York Learning - High Level Summary

York Learning is the Adult Learning arm of City of York Council.  We offer a broad curriculum plan across the City to provide residents with different opportunities in which to engage with learning to deliver in line with York & NY Skills Strategy / LEP Skills Strategy.  York Learning was visited by Ofsted at the end of November 2019 and were graded as a ‘Good’ provider.

York is viewed as an affluent city which is highly qualified however it does have some small pockets of deprivation, with a significant number of individuals with low skills wages and qualification levels.   York Learning’s representative are working closely with the LSIP to ensure our offer is aligned with local needs and which will feed into our accountability statement.  York Learning’s offer closely aligns with York’s Council plan and York’s Skill Plan on which we report progress on to York Learning’s governance board and CYC scrutiny sessions.

York Learning has a high-quality curriculum for adult learning that focuses on improving learners’ essential skills knowledge in English, mathematics, ESOL and Digital/ICT as recognise the importance of these skills in tackling social disadvantage.  The curriculum is also complemented with a wider range of learning and skills opportunities and a social prescribing route for referrals from partners for courses that are targeted to improve wellbeing and mental health.  Learning is usually delivered in safe and accessible community locations such as local libraries, schools, and children’s centres. 

Very positive relationships are fostered in class/online by tutors which helps to motivate, inspire & contribute to the social wellbeing of our learners.  Individuals achieve and often extend their learning goals because of this.  Peer learning, which occurs within classes, is often cited as one of the main reasons for re-enrolment.

York Learning run a number of highly valued extension opportunities for existing learners joining with other communities from local heritage crafts, art and with vulnerable groups.  This year the theme was ‘Flight’ ( ) using recycled materials in an art installation.  We exhibited 600 birds, made from recycled materials to create a large-scale art installation which went on display in different venues.


Many learners attended a graduation celebration event, particularly those learners who are on higher level qualifications which this year included; Counselling; Childcare; Business Admin and Adult Care.


York Learning develops long lasting, effective partnerships with libraries, employers, Job Centre Plus, schools, nurseries, charities, and community groups. 


Good governance has been provided by our Governance Improvement Board which is also scrutinised by our elected members and senior leaders.

The broad curriculum offer includes; English, maths, ICT, 16-18 Foundation Learning, 16-25 High Needs Supported Delivery, Apprenticeships & Work Based Learning, Employability, Family Learning, Counselling, Bookkeeping, and a wide range of programmes relating to Art, Culture and Wellbeing.  Wrapped within and around this is a robust Information Advice and Guidance offer.

Types of Provision

Provision for 16-25 Learners with High Needs

Provision for learners with High Needs and targeted at those with an Education, Health & Care Plan is very good and the partnership working and co-ordinated offer through sub-contractors provides an outstanding offer to these learners.  This provision has continued to be highly responsive and of significant benefit to young people, providing a very good educational experience.  All subcontractors are provided full support and assistance throughout the process, and we provide robust continuous quality monitoring. 

Adult Learning Programmes

The wide and inclusive curriculum offer is evenly spread across the city and online.  We ensure all our classes have a welcoming environment in which learners feel safe and able to learn.  Achievement rates in Education and Training are 80.1% which is good but slightly below national benchmarks and is due to the drop in achievement within Functional Skills and learners moving across regions from ESOL due to refugees who are finding accommodation out of area and moving away, leading to lower overall achievement.


English, maths and ICT have made good progress across nearly all programme types and aims with good improvement in all areas.  Recovery in these areas has been improving however, the achievement rates in functional skills has dropped, English is  76%  and maths 68.8% both have dropped due to a variety of reasons from drop out of small class sizes, increased sickness and competing job demands of learners.  The pass rates (those who stayed on the course) are better; English=89.3%; Maths=83.8%, and this clearly shows that the drop out from these small classes have been the major factor in the low achievement for English particularly but within Maths it is more multi-faceted including a group of online GCSE learners not fully committing to the workload needed and FS learners’ ill health and changing shifts at work.  Improved induction processes are already in hand to mitigate this moving forward so that expectations of attendance and out of class study are clear.


16-18 Study Programmes


The 16-18 study program continues to be good and meeting the needs of some of the most vulnerable young people in the city.  This is a full-time programme which attracts those young people who cannot attend college or other provision.  Tutors quickly identify any additional learning and specialist support needs that a learner may have and have found an increase in Social Emotional Health needs this year.  Tutors manage learner behaviours and reduce anxieties with learners, and they do make good progress in their chosen study programme with 78% into positive outcomes and an achievement rate of 77.5%.  



Apprenticeship provision has maintained its performance at good, the offer currently includes qualifications related to Adult Care, Childcare, Business Admin and Customer Service.   


Apprentices receive good support throughout their learning supporting their achievement and progress into higher employment.


What do we do well? 

·          We create an excellent learning and supportive environment for our learners which nurtures them and encourages them to learn.

·          Courses are designed carefully with clear progression routes to enable learners to achieve their potential.

·          Internal and external partnerships are strong and helps us to develop courses that are linked to local and regional needs.

·          There is very good quality of teaching and learning, and leaders ensure tutors are highly experienced and understand how to provide good education experiences.

·          Learners are committed, engaged and enthusiastic about their learning.

·          Overall retention and achievement are both good.

·          Varied, wide reaching and accessible curriculum developed alongside partners.


Key Areas for Development

·          Improved induction processes for Functional Skills English and maths

·          Further development to embed employability skills into classes and employment links and pathways need strengthening within a few curriculum areas.

·          Learner voice needs strengthening and developing alongside collection of destination data which is inconsistent

·          Delivery of Prevent and British Values is inconsistent in some small parts of the offer.


Overall Grade                                          Good

Quality of Education                                        Good

Personal Development                           Good

Behaviours & Attitudes                         Good

Leadership & Management                    Good

York Learning – 2021-22   

Consolidated and Key Themes from all area’s Self-Assessment  –

Quality of Education



·         Good curriculum planning leads to various routes for learning that is flexible and responsive that prepares learners for their next stage into further education, training, employment, or volunteering.

·         Good and effective partnerships across communities, employers and range of organisations ensures the majority of the curriculum offer is aligned to local and regional economic need and is engaging with those hardest to reach groups who are furthest from the job market. 

·         Good access to information advice and guidance, career guidance and skills courses that develop learners’ confidence so that they can identify pathways for progression into further learning, employment, or other positive outcomes after their current learning ends. 

·         Exceptional offer available to those suffering hardship or furthest away from employment or education to support wellbeing and health inequalities via a growing social prescribing offer. 

·         Accessible and very good learner support provided meeting the needs of all learners but particularly those most disadvantaged through poverty, lack of opportunities, low skills, learning difficulties, and those with SEND/high needs to ensure all benefit from the same learning experience regardless of ability or priori experience in education.

·         Ambitious and well-designed curriculum offer planned with partners, learners and employers which leads to higher academic and vocational learning progression opportunities and outcomes.




  • High quality learning resources both within face-to-face learning and online learning, which is sequenced to build new skills onto what has been taught which supports learners’ achievement and development within their chosen subjects to meet defined outcomes. 
  • Highly skilled tutors and responsive digital infrastructure enables student to access high quality teaching, learning and assessment online.
  • Tutors develop and enable learners to comprehend key concepts, with clear presentations and promoting discussions to further enhance their understanding.
  • Tutors check understanding successfully and identify and correct misunderstandings to support learners.
  • Good induction ensures learners starting points are accurately identified and very good support is put in place where needed (89% of learners agreed support was excellent/good).
  • 100% of employers agreed teaching was good 98% of learners agreed the skills of their tutor was excellent (87%) or good (11%).
  • Good strategies are in place to ensure all students who have yet to obtain functional skills have access to 1-1 support.



  • Candidates grow in confidence.
  • Apprenticeship achievement rates are above the national average at 71.4%.
  • 99% of learners are enjoying their training and would recommend us to their friends.
  • Good online resources have improved learners focus and improved assessment marking to help learners progress and achieve.
  • Good education programme offer to SEND learners which builds confidence and job skills
  • Wide curriculum offer supports sense of community and helps combat, stress, loneliness and feelings of isolation whilst having an enriching and improving effect on learners lives due to the skills/knowledge learnt in class.  91% of learners agreed that the range of offer was excellent or good.

·         Good awareness of alternative funding sources allows for variation within offer focusing on future skills such as coding bootcamps.

·         Good partnership work with community partners working in the region has led to an increase in co-designed meaningful courses being delivered.

·         94% of learners said they had an excellent/good experience overall.


Education and Training  -- 19+

Achievement 80.1% (20/21 81.4) -Pass Rate of 89.5% (20/21 90%)-

Retention  89.5%  (20/21 at 90.4%)



Community Learning






16-19 Education

Full Costs


Quality of Education

Areas for Development

·      Some small areas of the curriculum offer still requires development to ensure comprehensive growth, depth and reach of curriculum and to ensure they meet underrepresented groups to represent the community.

·      English and maths achievement rates have dropped overall for English 76.9% and maths 68.6% both below National Benchmarks. This is particularly related to Functional Skills L1/2 maths and Entry Level 2 English.

·      EPA for Early years apprenticeships require further development to ensure better outcomes.

·      Progression routes and careers guidance require improved definition within some areas of the curriculum that signpost to other qualification routes and identify transferrable skills or wider career opportunities.





Behaviour and Attitudes


·          Leaders and managers and tutors have high expectations.  Learners have positive attitudes with a respectful culture and happy safe environment and value the support they receive. 

·          Learners’ behaviour and attitudes to learning are excellent, they value and remain committed to their learning. 

·          Learners often undertake additional activities outside of class and/or at home within many areas of the curriculums.

·          Monitoring of learner’s personal development, behaviour and welfare is very good leading to improved learning wellbeing.

·          Safeguarding of learners is very good, systems are used correctly with regular reviews and processes are followed.  This enables us to support those learners who are extremely vulnerable and subject to multi-disciplinary arrangements due to complex layered needs.

·          Excellent relationships with professionals to ensure a holistic approach in supporting and meeting individual’s needs and relations between tutors/learners/peers is also excellent.

·          Learner feedback, is good, indicating high levels of learner satisfaction.

·          Learners have good attendance and retention rates 89.5% for 19+ AEB, 92.5% 16-19 HNS, 94.1%(loans); 96.8 (CL);   

Areas for Development

·          British Values, Prevent and Digital Safeguarding resources developed by the service, are not, always, promoted in every class and are being redeveloped and promoted.

·          Continue to develop and raise awareness of sexual harassment and violence aspects, unconscious bias and a no tolerance approach in line with inclusive cultures and environments.


Personal Development


·           Our offer brings a sense community and the learning experience, helps to combat loneliness, stress and the sense of isolation and therefore supports learners’ mental health and wellbeing.  (95% of learners agreed their class was very welcoming)

·          91% of people asked, said that the benefits they had gained by attending their course were either Good or Excellent.

·          Community arts projects and creative extension opportunities we offer, increases, and heightens the sense of achievement and creative aspirations of learners, as well as attracting new learners to the service.

·          A high percentage of learner comments show that attending a course improves their health, wellbeing, and confidence (ILP/End of Course Questionnaire’s & OTL feedback).

·          Learner ILPs/RARPA show a significant number of learners use the skills/knowledge and confidence gained in class as a means of enriching and improving their lives or as a springboard into higher education or employment/self-employment.

Areas for Development

·          Continue to develop and improve the mechanisms and strategies to engage learners in regard the Prevent and British Values policies. 


Leadership & Management


·              Governance, Leadership and Management and Scrutiny have clear oversight of provision and address any gaps through a variety of quality review points in the year.  They provide good strategic oversight and have a good understanding of the local community and economic landscape. 

·              Leadership and Management have high expectations of the impact of provision for learners and monitor the local landscape for changing economic directions and opportunities which will continually develop the curriculum offer.  This leads to wide learner engagement & excellent opportunities for individuals and employers.

·              There is a shared understanding with partners for the intent of co-developed programmes and the expected impact from them alongside the socially prescribed offer and who those programmes are available for.

·              Mental health and wellbeing information and guidance is regularly distributed to staff to promote wellbeing to give effective support to all.

·              Very good communication between Management, teaching & non-teaching staff ensures that learner needs are addressed quickly & efficiently.

·              Manager support, encouragement and praise for staff is very good

·              Opportunities for professional development of staff is good

Areas for Development

·          Improve mechanisms for Employer and Learner voice and collection of destination data

·          Further development of 16-18 NEET prevention study programme required to increase the focus on wider life skills to support effective learner transition into adulthood and independent living

·          New Mental Health lead must develop and embed strategies to support the mental health of learners and staff