Education Scotland publishes community learning inspection report

Wadbister voe and catfirth sml

After a progress visit by HM Inspectors last month, Education Scotland has today published a positive inspection report for Community Learning and Development (CLD) in Shetland.  

Noting the leadership and partnership working, the report summarises that: 

  • The CLD plan is closed aligned to the Shetland Partnership Plan and vision; partners in Shetland collaborate to respond to meeting needs. 
  • Governance of the CLD Plan is clear; progress is routinely reported and senior leaders recognise the value of CLD. 
  • Partnership working is embedded in many aspects of local service delivery, avoiding duplication and ensure that resources are well targeted. 
  • The Youth and Employability service is now embedded well within all Shetland secondary schools and young people advocate for change.  
  • Planning for improvement is evidence-based; partners are solution-focused; and partners are ambitious and aspirational about tackling inequality and inequity across Shetland.
  • CLD staff have a very good understanding of the barriers to participation that learners face.  

The report underlines some areas for development in this area: 

  • Community organisations are not fully engaged in CLD planning; and strategic partners need to consider how to strengthen further their ongoing engagement with community organisations and how to include them in decision-making. 
  • The strategic decision-making role of volunteers, adult learners and young people in CLD planning should also be developed further.

HM Inspectors also noted the positive performance of the Council and CLD partners in demonstrating the impact of their work: 

  • CLD staff and partners have a good understanding of locality profiles, to identify gaps in provision and strengthen further partnership working.
  • Employability focused partners identify changing needs and monitor progress against strategic aims. 
  • Over the last few years there are increasing numbers of adults participating in CLD activity.
  • CLD partners have a strong and clear focus on working with individuals and groups who experience disadvantage and inequality, and to remove barriers to participation and support inclusion.
  • Partners delivering employment focused projects are supporting young people and adults effectively to identify their skills, set personal aims and progress.
  • There is a long-established culture of community volunteering in Shetland, a wide range of ambitious community organisations and many community volunteers provide an extensive range of opportunities and services. 
  • Youth workers work effectively with school staff and other partners to deliver a clear and adaptable youth work in schools.  Their person-centred approach is helping young people to achieve, reduce exclusion and is encouraging improvements in attendance. 

Inspectors noted some areas for development:

  • The CLD partnership is not yet able to demonstrate fully how CLD is contributing to a wide range of strategic priorities and the collective impact of CLD. 
  • Partners are not able to demonstrate clearly what success should look like across all measures and partners should set themselves appropriate targets to help them better recognise shared success.

There were no areas of improvement identified by HM Inspectors in relation to CLD in Shetland and no further action is required following this progress visit.   HM Inspectors noted that Shetland Islands Council and CLD partners “are making sufficient progress with their CLD plan and have the capacity to continue to improve”.  

Areas for development will be considered through the creation of the new CLD plan for Shetland.

Councillor Davie Sandison, Chair of the Council’s Education and Families Committee said: “This is a very positive report for our staff and for all our partners in Community Learning and Development in Shetland.  Everyone involved fulfils an important role to help tackle themes of inclusion, inequality and poverty, which are key challenges of our time.” 

The Education Scotland report can be found here  

Notes for Editors

The 2021-24 Community Learning and Development Plan for Shetland is available at: 

Published: 26th March 2024