Learning community praised
The learning community around Anderson High School has been praised in an inspection report from Education Scotland.
The inspection was carried out at the same time as the recent High School inspection, to assess the impact of community learning and development on young people, adult learners and communities in the area.
The inspectors considered the work of the Council’s Community Learning and Development (CLD) services, which comprise Adult Learning, Youth Work and Community Work, as well as the services provided by a range of voluntary organisations and partners in Shetland.
They found that the “impact on young people” of the learning community was “excellent”, stating that “young people enjoy access to a very wide range of excellent, inclusive, well planned and appropriately targeted learning opportunities and experiences”.
The “impact on adults” the “impact of capacity building on communities” were both found to be “very good” and the learning community also received a “very good” for “improvements in performance” and “improving services”
The report identifies the following strengths of the Anderson High School learning community:
- Young people’s active participation in decision making locally and nationally.
- Vibrant and active community organisations.
- Curriculum for Excellence embedded within Youth Services practice.
- Very effective approaches by community learning and development (CLD) to quality improvement.
- Innovative use of Shetland Island’s Council Graduate Placement Programme by CLD services to assist with research and to refresh practice.
- Inclusive and well targeted learning programmes.
The CLD services and partners were found to provide a “very wide and effective range of learning programmes and support for young people, adults and community organisations”. The inspectors felt that these learning programmes made a “positive contribution to learners’ skills and quality of life, as well as the Shetland economy”.
Adult Learning was praised for being effectively targeted, with a high number of “non-traditional learners” returning to learning, gaining new confidence, skills and employment. The report states that “adult learners with highly challenging personal issues have benefited greatly from life-changing experiences as a consequence of their involvement” in adult learning programmes. Also, a high number of learners engaged in adult literacy provision were found to progress to certificated learning at Shetland College.
The report also commends the “embedded culture of collaboration between partners in the statutory and voluntary sector” which the inspectors believe ensures very effective service provision. They identify “highly committed, confident and well informed volunteers” who are able to positively contribute to the development of the local community.
Innovative approaches such as Bridges “Land Rover” project, (working with disengaged young males), and the participatory budgeting pilot “Wir Community, Wir Choices” were highlighted as helping to reduce antisocial behaviour, develop the skills of the local people, “build community capacity and aid community cohesion”.
Adult Learning Manager Nancy Heubeck said:
“This is an outstanding report for Community Learning and Development. The inspection reflects very well on the services provided by the Council, and on the wide range of partner organisations and community groups we work with.
“The recognition of the excellent impact services are having on young people is particularly welcome. The work done in Shetland to involve young people in decision making is considered to be ‘sector leading’ and this is something that we can be justly proud of.
“This report confirms that we have very high quality community learning and development services in Shetland and these are making very strong impacts on the community, on young people and on adult learners”.
The full inspection report is available from the Education Scotland website at:
The learning community for Anderson High School covers a significant part of the mainland including Lerwick, Gulberwick, Scalloway, Burra, Trondra, Tingwall and the communities of Whiteness, Weisdale, Girlsta and Nesting as well as the islands of Bressay, Fair Isle, Foula, Fetlar and Papa Stour.