An Education Scotland inspection report has found there are “improvements needed” in the Western Isles’ community learning and development (CLD).
The CLD programme seeks to improve the “life chances for people of all ages, through learning, personal development and active citizenship.”
In compiling the report Education Scotland staff talked to children, young people, adults as well as community organisations.
The report noted that: “There are improvements needed and partners do not yet have a full understanding of their strengths and areas for improvement.”
An area that needs improvement is the use of measurable targets that can “inform improvements and identify progress.”
An example would be developing programmes for apprenticeships in the care sector which could offset the “projected increase in the percentage of older adults.”
The report stated: “Our Area Lead Officers along with the education authority will discuss the most appropriate support in order to build capacity for improvement and will maintain contact to monitor progress.”
In discussions, targets were agreed to improve CLD governance and to “develop joint targets and performance measures to “better capture the full impact of CLD” with further progress checks scheduled in the next 12 months.
But despite that there were a number of areas of commendation with the key strengths of CLD being “a shared understanding of community planning vision beginning to drive positive change.”
Senior leaders understand the role of CLD in reducing depopulation and addressing barriers faced by remote communities leading to the allocation of resources including the move to locate CLD practitioners within communities.
There was also a “dynamic and capable third sector and community organisations improving outcomes”next to a “strong culture of volunteering meeting learner and community needs.”
There are well “planned, targeted and inclusive programmes” that are helping to improve life chances for many people in the Outer Hebrides.
The Western Isles Council was contacted for comment.