Community Learning and Development (CLD) makes a clear impact on helping reduce inequalities in East Lothian, according to a recent Education Scotland inspection.
The inspection found that CLD partners promoted a ‘positive culture across East Lothian’ with a strong shared focus on reducing inequalities.
CLD priorities include youth work, to help young people at risk of exclusion from school, building capacity in communities to help people make decisions affecting their area, and promoting family and community-based adult learning. CLD places a strong emphasis on working with local partners, the third sector and Area Partnerships in delivering these priorities.
The inspection team found good examples of CLD activities contributing to local and national policy objectives such as closing the poverty-related education attainment gap. Focussing on activities in the Prestonpans and Port Seton areas, they highlighted good examples of activities helping to reduce social isolation and improve people’s health and wellbeing; such as the Trolls in the Trees and the Pennypit computer club. They cited various examples of strong partnership working including with Prestonpans Infant School; community safety had also improved with reduced youth anti-social behaviour. They commented that staff morale was high.
They identified several key strengths, including that CLD supported and developed volunteers and were improving the range of learning opportunities. They were impressed by the ‘can do’ attitude to partnership working and the range of learning opportunities offered that were contributing to reducing isolation, helping build confidence and skills to provide routes into employment and training and reduce poverty. They felt that some improvements were needed but said that CLD and its partners had a good understanding of their strengths and areas for improvement, which meant that communities were achieving well, and that there was no need for follow-up inspections.
Councillor Jim Goodfellow, Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, said:
“First of all, I would like to congratulate our Community Learning and Development team and our partners on this very positive inspection report. I think it gives a good insight into the range and depth of the work of Community Learning and Development, which has led to big improvements in opportunities for learning in communities and building new capacity. Their work addresses inequalities and leads to stronger, more cohesive, happier and safer communities.The inspection report will be a very useful tool in driving further improvements in our service.”