College chief called in to shake up adult education

Lancashire County Council has brought in the principal of one of the county’s outstanding colleges to strengthen the management of Lancashire Adult Learning (LAL), following a disappointing Ofsted report.
Amanda Melton who is the new principal of Nelson and Colne College.Amanda Melton who is the new principal of Nelson and Colne College.
Amanda Melton who is the new principal of Nelson and Colne College.

Amanda Melton, principal of Nelson and Colne College, will share her time equally between her current role and as interim principal of LAL, the county council’s adult learning service, for the rest of the academic year. Nelson and Colne College has been rated as Outstanding by Ofsted since 2008 and is in the top 8% of colleges in the country.

The appointment is part of an action plan to address issues raised by Ofsted’s inspectors following their assessment of LAL, which provides a variety of courses at locations across the county.

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The plan includes making significant changes to its governance structures, which will see Ms Melton work as interim principal alongside senior managers and members of the county council to address the inspectors’ concerns.

Tony Martin, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services at the county council, said: “We’re very disappointed Ofsted has found weaknesses in adult learning services and we’re determined the situation will improve rapidly.

“One of inspectors’ main concerns was about governance so our immediate steps include putting revised arrangements in place in that respect.

“Meanwhile Amanda’s appointment as interim principal is a sign of our commitment to implementing a comprehensive action plan that will pick up everything the inspectors said needed to improve.

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“LAL continues to provide a wide range of valuable learning opportunities in our communities and we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact the inspectors praised some aspects of its provision. In particular they found LAL was helping many people to learn the kind of vocational skills and self-confidence needed to find employment.”

Speaking about her appointment, Amanda Melton said: “The Ofsted report identifies some real challenges for LAL and the key now is to act quickly and decisively to address them.

“Adult learning services play a vital role, often supporting people back into work or to make a career change, and have a tremendous reach in terms of where you can access them and the breadth of subject matter.

“Despite the outcome of the recent inspection I think there are strengths to build on and I’m looking forward to working with colleagues across LAL to make the improvements that are needed.”