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					               West Yorkshire ESOL Pathfinder
Development of an Implementation Framework for ESOL

   Report of the consultative event and action-planning
    day held on Wednesday 8 October 2003 in Leeds


Welcome and introduction
Ken Gillespie, Chair of the Executive Committee of the West Yorkshire
Partnership Board, welcomed participants. Ken spoke of the importance of
ESOL, and Skills for Life more generally, in improving the life chances of many
people in West Yorkshire.

The aims of the event were to:

      Present findings from the Pathfinder evaluation;
      Reach consensus on issues that need to be addressed;
      Agree actions to address the issues.


Pathfinder evaluation and consultancy findings
Stuart McCoy and Carol Tennyson, consultants for the Pathfinder evaluation and
the consultative event, presented a summary of their findings.

Pathfinder evaluation conclusions

Participants were referred to the full evaluation report that is available from Mary
Clayton, the Pathfinder Co-ordinator.

Conclusions relating to strategic issues include:

      Lack of a clear sub-regional strategy for ESOL;
      The plethora of working groups that lack clarity of purpose, co-ordination
       and impact;
      Insufficient reliable data to support planning of provision at sub-regional
       level;
      Need fro a strategic approach to the development of learning materials
       and resources;
      Need fro an ESOL-specific training strategy to support sub-regional
       activity;
      Need for more effective inter-agency working.




Stuart McCoy and Carol Tennyson                                                 1
Follow-up activity

At the request of the Pathfinder Steering Group, the consultants engaged in
follow-up work to collect information and informed views about the issues raised
in the report. Participants were referred to the paper in the event packs
describing the context for ESOL in West Yorkshire, the issues and some possible
ways forward.

The current context included:

           The Skills for Life national strategy;
           LSC national and local delivery plans;
           LSC West Yorkshire basic skills action plan;
           ABSSU national and regional activity;
           Yorkshire Forward and the FRESA;
           The five Learning Partnerships and their basic skills action plans;
           JCP programmes and IAG Partnerships;
           Many regional, sub-regional and local SfL and basic skills working
            groups;
           Success for All and the Skills White Paper;
           Convergence of the three funding streams and the Strategic Area
            Review;
           The Regional Assembly dimension.

Plans produced by the various organisations mentioned above have common
aims and objectives. These include consensus on some key objectives to:

          Identify need;
          Increase participation;
          Increase capacity and the supply of provision;
          Improve the quality of provision;
          Increase achievement.

Participants were asked to consider how actions could be implemented to
achieve these objectives.

Participants were also asked to consider whether a ‘plan’ was needed, or a
‘strategy’, or something else such as an implementation framework.

Consultancy findings suggested that the issues included:

          Current arrangements are too complex;
          There is no overarching framework to implement development activity;
          Difficulty in identifying ESOL learning needs;
          Some deficiencies in current programmes and delivery methods;
          Insufficient and poor quality resources;
          Need for effective IAG and support;
          Need for more effective inter-agency working;
          Working within the regulations impacting on potential ESOL learners;


Stuart McCoy and Carol Tennyson                                                   2
          Training for teachers and other staff helping ESOL learners;
          Management arrangements;
          Reviewing and evaluating the quality of provision and services.


Initial responses to the findings and messages
Initial responses to the findings were invited from the LSC, ABSSU and Yorkshire
Forward.

Margaret Cobb, LSC West Yorkshire: We need:
    A strategy and a co-ordinated approach which brings networks together;
    A sharper focus on what needs to be done and where, to maximise effort
      and remove duplication, particularly around funding;
    To build the capacity of institutions and improve quality;
    To be creative and innovative using the existing skills of staff, particularly
      around ICT;
    To improve performance by being as creative as possible.

Philippa Lester, Adult basic Skills Strategy Unit: Initial thoughts are that:
    ESOL is a very important dimension of the SfL strategy;
    ABSSU is playing a key role in the Crick Committee on citizenship that is
      considering proficiency in language;
    We need to build on the positive outcomes from the Pathfinder;
    More work needs to be done about quality and co-ordination of ESOL
      provision; we need to work smarter;
    There is a challenge for senior managers to help to address the agreed
      issues, and a challenge for others to influence senior managers to do so.

Martyn Chesters, Yorkshire Forward: We should:
   Consider what ESOL is and how it connects with other learning;
   Be aware of the importance of ESOL and Skills for Life in supporting the
      regional agenda on economic regeneration;
   Take account of the priorities stated in the FRESA;
   Work collaboratively at a regional and sub–regional level to succeed in
      implementing an effective plan for ESOL.


Group session 1: to find consensus on the issues
Participants then went into groups to discuss these issues. Groups were mixed
by type of organisation and geographical area.

Feedback from the groups included the following points:

           Need to raise the profile of ESOL and give it an identity in West
            Yorkshire;
           Need to ensure that ESOL is included in other developments across
            West Yorkshire;


Stuart McCoy and Carol Tennyson                                                 3
        Importance of establishing a common understanding of good practice in
         ESOL provision and services across organisations in West Yorkshire;
        Need more organised sharing of good practice in ESOL across West
         Yorkshire;
        Importance of establishing a coherent structure for managing and
         delivering ESOL provision across West Yorkshire;
        Need for more reliable and comprehensive data and for sharing existing
         data more widely;
        Need for a mapping exercise to support the planning process;
        Insufficient capacity is acknowledged and is the top priority;
        Capacity issues include the age profile and salaries of teachers, and their
         previous experience and qualifications (TEFL);
        Planners need to understand that need is not the same as demand, and
         capacity is not the same as supply;
        There is a lack of flexibility in funding to address individual learning
         needs;
        Problems with eligibility and criteria for ESOL funding;
        Improvements in quality need to keep pace with increased supply;
        Not all provision is well enough matched to learners’ needs;
        Need to rationalise the courses and programmes currently offered, whilst
         retaining specialisms, building on strengths and facilitating the continuing
         involvement of smaller organisations;
        Need more innovative approaches such as the use of embedded
         provision and ICT;
        Importance of establishing systems and procedures for tracking learners;
        Need to tackle the protective culture and low expectations of some
         teachers;
        Need to develop a coherent approach to the training of all tutors (ESOL
         specialists and subject specialists);
        Inter-agency working is in the early stages of development;
        Need to continue the networking and ‘cross organisational’ teamwork
         that was a positive feature of the Pathfinder;
        Need to consider the possibility of sharing resources, including staff,
         across organisations;
        Importance of improving communication between organisations;
        Potential ESOL learners have more barriers than others, such as
         childcare, housing problems, and so on;
        Problem of ESOL being seen as a basic skill, which skews thinking about
         the issues.


Panel session
Feedback from the groups was followed by a panel session with Margaret Cobb,
Philippa Lester, and Martyn Chesters.

They made the following comments:
    Who will and should take responsibility for the co-ordination of
      development work at sub-regional level?


Stuart McCoy and Carol Tennyson                                                 4
      Throughout our discussions, we need to keep a focus on learners;
      We need to make best use of existing arrangements and work
       collaboratively.

The panel session was followed by lunch.


Addressing the issues

Following on from the consultancy findings, three models were outlined as
possible ways forward, and the need for ownership of the implementation was
emphasised.

Model 1: A charter for ESOL comprising an entitlement statement for ESOL
learners developed at sub-regional level, implemented through the Learning
partnerships and monitored by the LSDC trough provider and contract reviews.

Model 2: A strategic framework developed at sub-regional level, embedded
within existing structures and systems, implemented through the Learning
Partnerships, and monitored by the LSC implementation group.

Model 3: Status quo, with each organisation taking responsibility for addressing
the issues and for taking the work forward, with monitoring carried out by the
LSC and the inspectorates.

Group session 2: to find agreement on the way forward

Participants then went into groups to discuss ways of addressing the issues. The
groups were based on the five Learning Partnership areas and one sub-regional
group.

Feedback from the groups included the following points.

Model 1:
   Good idea in principle, but would it work?
   By stating an entitlement, some learners may be excluded;
   Learning Partnerships would have a key role to play in this model;
   Would need to be integral to all provider plans;
   Could be a powerful statement about ESOL in West Yorkshire;
   Why an entitlement for ESOL and not other areas of learning?
   Could lead to unhelpful standardisation;
   Could be good for defining progression;
   Could it apply consistently across the sub-region?


Model 2:
   This model could be too FE-focused;
   Inter-agency working would be important;
   Why create another framework rather than use what we have?


Stuart McCoy and Carol Tennyson                                               5
      The framework needs to be based on good practice;
      Some areas have good current structures that have taken years to
       develop;
      The existing framework lacks co-ordination and drive; the LSC should take
       responsibility for this through the Learning Partnerships;
      Take the best ideas from models 1 and 2, and have monitoring by the
       LSC.


Model 3:
   Generally thought not to be an option


Panel session
Feedback from the groups was followed by a panel session with Margaret Cobb,
Philippa Lester, and Martyn Chesters.

They made the following comments:

      The concept of an entitlement statement should apply to all learners;
      Things are not working as well as they could, but the strategic
       organisations are trying to address this;
      The LSC, the ABSSU and the RDA gave a commitment to make ESOL a
       priority and to work together to achieve success.


Plenary session
The final plenary session provided an opportunity for participants to comment on
the ideas discussed during the day and to suggest actions that need to be taken.

The following points were made:

      Possibility of the LSC establishing an ESOL network in the sub-region;
      The ESOL Theme Chest could be used to promote co-ordination of ESOL
       across West Yorkshire;
      Theme Chest steering group could become a think tank to consider issues
       highlighted through the Pathfinder;
      RSP and National Skills Group should consider ESOL issues;
      RDA to ensure that ESOL issues are considered when awarding and
       monitoring contracts;
      ESOL training should be an integral part of the CPD programme;
      ABSSU could convene a group to consider the issue of mapping ESOL
       provision;
      West Yorkshire Partnership Board to consider the conference report and
       the Pathfinder evaluation report;
      Possibility of having a ‘virtual’ team to deal with ESOL issues;



Stuart McCoy and Carol Tennyson                                             6
          Concern that Learning Partnerships do not have sufficient capacity to
           address the issues highlighted by the Pathfinder;
          Suggestion that consideration should be given to having paid posts for
           ESOL within the Learning Partnerships;
          Consideration should be given to having an ESOL development project to
           build on the outcomes of the Pathfinder and drive the work forward as an
           integral part of other strategic planning in West Yorkshire;
          Overwhelming support for the need to maintain the momentum achieved
           through the Pathfinder;
          Recognition that the end of the Pathfinder is just the beginning – the real
           work is still to be done.


Evaluation of the event
Participants were invited to complete an evaluation form and to add any further
comments. Feedback is summarised below.

Evaluation:

How useful did you find the event?
70% found the event very useful and 30% found it quite useful.

What was the most useful part of the day?
45% found the groups most useful and 35% found all parts of the day equally
useful.

How confident are you that the agreed actions will be implemented?
80% were quite confident.

Who should take the lead in moving this forward?
50% said all partners should work together; 25% said the LSC, and 20% said the
Learning Partnerships. The following organisations were also mentioned as
possible partners: Yorkshire Forward, JCP, providers, OCN, Regional Skills
Partnership (RSP), and a sub-group of the Learning Partnership Consortium.

Other comments included:

           Action needs to be bottom up as well as top down;
           Must have a joined up strategy that is lacking at the moment;
           Could work through the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy;
           Need to identify and employ a driver for the ESOL train;
           The actions need someone with status and authority to move things on;
           Promote an ethos of working together;
           Develop a sub-regional ESOL website;
           Place a requirement on individual providers to have explicit ESOL-related
            actions in their development plans;
           We need an action plan summarising today’s agreed actions and
            responsibility for them.


Stuart McCoy and Carol Tennyson                                                   7

				
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