Tutors quit over council actions following damning Adult Education Service Ofsted report

Wensum Lodge, where the Adult Education Service is based.

Wensum Lodge, where the Adult Education Service is based. - Credit: Archant

At least seven tutors at Norfolk's troubled Adult Education Service have resigned in protest at changes made since it was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted.

The service received the bottom grade following an inspection in January, with its leadership rated 'inadequate', and outcomes for learners, and quality of teaching, both graded 'requires improvement'.

A follow-up monitoring report published last week, which found the service was making 'reasonable improvement', highlighted ''pockets of resistance' by a minority of staff' to attend training events, and opposition to other changes.

Since then, a number of tutors have contacted the EDP to express anger with Norfolk County Council.

Concerns included tutors having to take part in a compulsory all-day training session if they wanted to teach next year, for which they were paid £50, which they said worked out at below the minimum wage.

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Norfolk County Council said the training would help all tutors present themselves in the best possible light at all times, and some other adult education services do not pay tutors attending training, or make them pay.

Sue Turner, who has resigned after 40 years, said: 'We have been told we have to prove we are embedding literacy and numeracy into each lesson for each student.

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'While this could be useful for 16 to 18 year olds, many of our students are elderly retired people – sometimes retired teachers, university professors, lawyers or other professional people. How can we use the same generic lesson plan to include teaching literacy and numeracy for all these different groups of people?'

A council spokesman said there was 'absolutely not' a box-ticking, one-size-fits-all approach, and said it had to adhere Ofsted's framework, whatever age is being taught, which will change in September to include embedded English and maths.

He added: 'It will up to tutors to decide how they do this, based on the levels they are teaching and the prior learning of their own students.'

Andrea Kenkmann, who resigned after 15 years teaching German, said: 'Part of me is very sad about this. I have just taken a group to Germany on an exchange visit and I have been a dedicated tutor because I love my job teaching, but I feel there's such a culture of control and mistrust that I don't want to be a part of that.'

A council spokesman said: 'We have some tutors who are deciding the service is changing more than they wish it to, and so are making a decision to move elsewhere. We respect tutors' individual choices and are helping them by being very clear about our expectations and rationale for management decisions.

'There are a small number of tutors making it clear they will not accept the Ofsted findings or the service's response. This is disappointing but we are managing this as sensitively but robustly as we can.'

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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