England by the Office for Standards in Education is published today.
Connexions West of England is a support service for young people aged
14 - 19 years and covers the four local education authorities (LEAs)
The inspectors judge that Connexions West of England is a good
partnership which provides an extensive service to many young people.
Overall, young people's achievement and the quality of Connexions
practice are good. The partnership provides good value for money.
Training organisations and statutory agencies work well together to
encourage young people, particularly the most vulnerable and
disaffected, to further their studies. Senior managers make a
significant contribution to the work of other organisations involved
in education and support. Good progress is being made in the
development of better integrated services for young people.
However, young people themselves are not sufficiently involved in the
planning and decision-making of the partnership. Joint planning and
liaison, particularly with schools, is inconsistent and the use of
assessment to identify individual needs and record progress is
The report identifies the following achievements by the partnership.
Aspects that Connexions West of England does well include:
- it raises standards of achievement of young people who make good
- it inspires young people to grow in confidence and make informed
choices and it provides effective targeted support for young people
with complex and multiple needs;
- it provides highly skilled and experienced staff who are very
committed to the needs of young people in the area;
- it develops many good initiatives to help young people learn and
continue their education and training. However, the inspectors re port
that the following aspects could be improved:
- the involvement of young people in the identification and
assessment of their needs and the planning and development of
- the consistency of systems to monitor, evaluate, record and track
young people's progress;
- the mechanisms for evaluating the quality of provision provided by
partners in the Connexions service;
- management processes to take better account of the views of
practitioners and offer opportunities to share good practice.
Alongside many prosperous areas there are pockets of deprivation,
notably in Bristol. In some communities, education is not given a
high priority and this has a detrimental effect on the number of
young people pursuing their education or training beyond the age of
16. The lack of good public transport and high unemployment in
certain areas are also contributory factors which impede the progress
of young people.
Forty per cent of the population is based in the Bristol area. The
proportion of young people in the area from black and minority ethnic
origins makes up just over 4 per cent of the total population
although local variations range from 2 per cent to 8 per cent. There
are some 105 establishments providing education. These include
schools, further and higher education colleges and a sixth form
Connexions West of England started in April 2001 as a 'direct
delivery' organisation. It is a company limited by guarantee. At the
time of the inspection the partnership had a total of 226 staff of
whom 126 were personal advisers. The partnership has a grant of
£7.6m and additional income of £4m.
The report is available here.