Post-16 Phonics Approaches: A Toolkit

This toolkit is intended to support practitioners wishing to use phonics approaches with post-16 learners.

Maths and English in Prison Work and Training

A collection of innovative task-based learning approaches used in secure estate workshops.

Citizen Literacy

Imagine living in a world of written words you do not understand?

Shaping Success in Maths + English

Shaping Success in Maths + English

ccConsultancy have been commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) to support maths and English Continuing Professional Development (CPD) via their ‘Shaping Success’ programme. The ETF are funded by the DfE to support staff in the post-16 sector.We’re offering a range of engaging blended learning courses to support your personal skills and teaching approaches, and to help you and your organisation improve outcomes in maths and English.  Take a look at what’s on offer. If you have any queries, please get in touch with your Regional Specialist Lead. We look forward to working with you!

This has been the best training I have done whilst being in lockdown.

I think I will incorporate aspects of the delivery as well as the resources throughout my practice.

What this course has given me is a reminder of why I teach and how much I love it. I’m always trying to think of new ways to make my lessons more engaging and this course has really helped me to do so.

Really great session – very fired up now!

You have opened my eyes to how important maths is.

Courses

The blended learning courses shown below are a great opportunity to collaborate and network with other providers, or you may like to run one in-house just for your own staff.  All of these courses are offered at a heavily subsidised rate. For full details of pricing and to book, please see our course booking form

Attendance & Motivation


Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown and research this practical course will focus on how to engage and motivate learners to attend, and remain on, maths courses and will include supporting learners remotely and issues surrounding resilience and self-efficacy. The course will support practitioners to help learners with maths anxiety and recognise and address cognitive overload with strategies to support these issues.
Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown, this course will focus on how to engage and motivate learners to attend and remain on English courses and will include supporting learners remotely and issues surrounding resilience and self-efficacy. The course will support practitioners to use innovative approaches to engage learners in reading and writing, drawing on recent practitioner research findings (from OTLA 6). Download the flyer. Watch this short video explaining the course. Click here for more information and how to book

Vocational/ Technical


Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown this course will support technical and vocational tutors, trainers and assessors to identify naturally occurring opportunities to develop learners’ maths skills which are needed for them to successfully complete their study programme, apprenticeship or vocational/ technical course. Approaches will incorporate lessons learnt from lockdown. Download the flyer. Watch this short video explaining the course. Click here for more information and how to book

Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown this course will support technical and vocational tutors, trainers and assessors to identify naturally occurring opportunities to develop learners’ English skills which are needed for them to successfully complete their study programme, apprenticeship or vocational/ technical course. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

English


Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown, this course will draw on best practice approaches to engage learners in reading for work, study and pleasure, in order that they can improve their confidence to respond to texts in class and during assessments. The course will consider reading at word, sentence and text levels and will include ‘whole text’ approaches that can be used with learners to develop a range of reading skills. Download the flyer. Watch this short video explaining the course. Click here for more information and how to book

Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown, this course will draw on best practice approaches to develop writing skills to produce coherent and cohesive texts which respond effectively to: examination and occupational tasks; reading questions and transactional and creative writing tasks. Download the video. Watch this short video explaining the course.  Click here for more information and how to book

Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown this course explores the principles and practices that underpin the Post-16 Phonics Toolkit. Participants will discuss the benefits and challenges of using phonics-based teaching and then explore the key concepts, terminology, skills progression and teaching approaches presented in the Toolkit. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown, this course focuses on developing learners’ speech, language and communication (SpLC) skills for maths and English teaching and learning. There is also a specific focus on supporting SEND and neuro-diverse learners. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

Maths


Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown and research the course aims to investigate some of the ‘basic’ skills which are vital to learner’s maths understanding. This course will support practitioners to consider practical teaching approaches to support their learners in the limited time they have with learners. The sessions will look particularly at the maths skills which are often seen as ‘basic’ but that many learners have not learned effectively. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

This course will investigate the maths topics learners find challenging and consider strategies to support learning. Informed by what we have learnt from lockdown, a range of resources and best practice approaches will be discussed. We will also look at how to encourage learners to rethink problems and secure their learning through tackling problems. Download the video. Watch this short video explaining the course.  Click here for more information and how to book

Informed throughout by lessons learnt from lockdown practitioners will have the opportunity to discuss and engage with strategies to support their learners to be more successful with both GCSE and Functional Skills maths. This includes tackling problem-solving questions, keeping learners motivated and looking at some of the key issues as to why supporting learners to re-sit successfully can be so challenging. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

Digital


Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown this course explores a range of digital approaches, e-learning tools and websites for use in teaching Functional Maths and English. It aims to give participants an opportunity to widen their perspectives on how teachers can use digital technology to engage and support learners both in the classroom and in the development of blended learning. Download the flyer. Watch this short video explaining the course.  Click here for more information and how to book

Supporting ESOL learners


Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown, this course aims to support teachers of GCSE and Functional Skills English who have ESOL learners in their groups and need to ensure their approaches are inclusive and prepare all learners, including ESOL, to make progress. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown, this course aims to investigate the importance of language in developing numeracy/maths skills and to develop strategies to support ESOL learners with their maths learning. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

Integrating the development of English skills within vocational programmes has now become both an established support model and a key indicator of high-quality teaching across the curriculum; ESOL learners have particular support needs in terms of both spoken and written English. This one-day course sets out to explore how practitioners working with ESOL learners can meet those needs through a range of embedded teaching strategies. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

SEND and Neurodiversity


Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown, this course focuses on practical strategies and reasonable adjustments for supporting learners with SEND on maths and English courses. It builds on the social model of disability, suggesting that it may be the barriers created by attitudes, or the physical environment, that disable an individual, rather than their impairment or condition. Download the flyer. Watch this short video explaining the course.  Click here for more information and how to book

Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown, this course focuses on supporting differentiation on maths and English courses, in terms of learners’ prior knowledge and experience of their subject, through non-linear curriculum planning and meeting the needs of learners with different levels of self-belief and resilience. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

Functional Skills


Drawing on lessons learnt from lockdown, this course will help participants to develop a range of strategies to help learners studying for Functional Skills English level 1 and level 2. The course focuses on the key areas which examiners and tutors have identified as being areas learners find more challenging. The course will use a range of everyday texts, as used in the examinations, to explore how to develop learners reading and writing skills. Download the flyer.  Watch this short video explaining the course. Click here for more information and how to book

This course will introduce you to a variety of contextual materials and activities that may be used to develop learners’ Functional Skills maths abilities. You will be supported to identify how and why context matters and enable you to plan and design differentiated, inclusive Functional Skills maths sessions. Consideration will be taken of the EPGs for assessment and tracking and how to support learners to tackle assessment questions in order to achieve Functional Skills maths outcomes. Download the flyerWatch this short video explaining the course. Click here for more information and how to book

CPD YouTube Channel

Check out our CPD YouTube Channel for videos introducing all of our courses

Specialist Courses

The specialist customised courses shown below are offered at heavily subsidised rate. You’ll have the opportunity to work with one of the Regional Specialist Leads both before and after the course, and we’ll help you identify how you can address any issues your organisation may be facing. For full details of pricing and to book inhouse courses, please see our course booking form

GCSE re-sits: develop your practice (Level 5 module)


This L5 CPD course supports practitioners working with GCSE English learners, especially those who have achieved lower than a grade C/5 at school. You will explore/experience how to engage and motivate learners and undertake assessment to build on your prior learning. You will experience digital approaches and other effective practices for leading GCSE English courses. Past delegates say the course was ‘exemplary & inspiring’ with ‘excellent, highly knowledgeable trainers’. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

For further infromation about the GCSE re-sits: develop your practice (Level 5 module) English course details please follow this link.

This L5 CPD course supports practitioners working with GCSE maths learners, especially those who have achieved lower than a grade C/ 5 at school. You will explore and experience how to engage and motivate learners and undertake assessment throughout the learner journey to build on prior learning. You will experience digital approaches and other effective practices for leading GCSE maths courses. Past delegates found the course ‘inspirational’, ‘excellent’, ‘world class’. Download the flyer. Click here for more information and how to book

For futher information about the GCSE re-sits: develop your practice (Level 5 module) maths course details please follow this link.

Teaching Functional Skills Level 5 CPD module


This course is aimed at both new teachers of Functional Skills English, and those already teaching but possibly recently transferred from other areas, including vocational teachers and assessors. It is particularly suitable for those who do not currently hold a subject-specific teaching qualification in English. It is designed to meet the needs of all parts of the sector, including independent training providers, offender learning and adult and community education. Download the flyerClick here for more information and how to book

For further infromation about the Teaching Functional Skills English Level 5 course details please follow this link.

This is aimed at both new teachers of Functional Skills maths and those already teaching but possibly recently transferred from other areas, including vocational teachers and assessors. It is particularly suitable for those who do not currently hold a specific teaching qualification in maths. It is designed to meet the needs of all parts of the sector, including independent training providers, FE colleges, offender learning and adult and community education. Download the flyerClick here for more information and how to book

For futher information about the Teaching Functional Skills Maths Level 5 course details please follow this link.

Bespoke Courses

Bespoke courses are specially designed ‘in-house blended learning courses’ that aim to meet the specific CPD needs of your organisation. Where several organisations have discussed or suggested similar training needs or requirements, individual bespoke courses may also be converted into ‘open, bookable courses’, enabling collaborative CPD and a shared exploration of specific areas of teaching, learning and assessment practice.   Just simply let us know what you need on our course booking form and we will be in touch.

Intervention Packages

A bespoke model of review and support for providers for maths and English provision offering services such as:

• Observation and feedback

• Team planning

• Team teaching

This would require an initial meeting to determine the needs of the organisation and identify the ‘topic area’ (i.e. attendance, tracking and differentiation…) and for the consultant to recommend what the rest of the ‘package’ might look like. Following this could be a determined number of days working on the above plus day(s) of training.

Further Help + Information

For further advice on professional development opportunities in maths and English, please contact your Regional Specialist Lead

You may also like to take a look at the CPD opportunities available at Foundation Online Learning

Jo

Vicky

Dr Vicky Butterby

Teacher/ Researcher

Whilst my generic job title is ‘teacher/ researcher’, I have many roles and responsibilities across our different projects, including: OTLA and EDS Programme Manager, Shaping Success Programme Support, ScreenSkills mentor / forum facilitator, Citizen Literacy programme evaluator and researcher.

Biography


I am a teacher-researcher who has enjoyed working across various educational sectors and settings. Passionate about inclusion and access to high quality, meaningful education for all, I began my teaching journey as a Learning Support Assistant in a busy secondary school, working with colleagues and young people who encouraged and inspired me to become a teacher. I spent approximately 5 years working in secondary education, teaching Social and Cultural Studies, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education and Citizenship, before moving into adult and community learning, the sector that stole my heart! Here I worked as a practitioner on the Healthy Schools Programme and, more recently, as an Access to Higher Education teacher, English teacher and a Community Youth Justice teacher.

My work with young people across each of these settings inspired me to undertake my PhD research, which used art and storytelling to explore loss in the lives of young people who offend. Most recently I have been fulfilling my love of teaching and research through my work with CC Consultancy, where I have been working on a variety of projects, from running a practitioner action research group with PDN (PD North), to supporting the Education and Training Foundation’s Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment (OTLA) and Essential Digital Skills (EDS) action research programmes. Recently I have also been thrilled to be part of adult literacy initiative, Citizen Literacy, working as a researcher and evaluator on their programme.



Something Personal


My two greatest loves are sport and nature – running in nature is a particular passion of mine and now I live in Scotland I have the most beautiful place in the world to enjoy my favourite hobbies. I’m also incredibly passionate about animal rights. In my spare time I volunteer at a local animal rescue centre and I am vegan for the animals, for the environment and for our future.


Get in touch with Vicky if:

You’re interested in action research, creative work with young people, you have writing to share or an idea you’d like to bounce around.

Inclusive Practice

Accessibility Statement

Accessibility

More information to follow, soon!

Mentors: Bob

Reasons to be Cheerful…

Bob Read

Strand Lead for projects 1, 2 and 3 and ccConsultancy Associate

For those of us working in the post-16 sector to improve our learners’ English skills there are daily reminders that we work in a very challenging curriculum area. Low learner motivation levels, behaviour management issues, staff shortages, more rigorous qualifications, demands for higher retention and achievement, shifting mark boundaries – such factors can dampen the enthusiasm of even the most committed teachers.


However, this year’s OTLA programme has provided for many of us some important reminders of how the sector is responding bravely and creatively to those many challenges, and in writing this article I would like to share some reflections on those ‘reasons to be cheerful’.

Building on research from other sectors

First, I have been greatly encouraged to note how many teachers working in the post-16 sector regularly take time to read and evaluate research findings, Twitter chats and blog posts by English teachers in the school sector and are keen to use the OTLA programme to investigate how to adapt those ideas for use in college settings. Here are some examples:

  • Rebecca Walker and her team at South Devon College have explored an approach to the marking of learner work based on the use of ‘Directed Improvement and Reflection Time – DIRT’ in the primary and secondary sector.
  • As a member of the Teamenglish Twitter community Louisa Baddiley, project lead at Suffolk New College, had been greatly impressed by the reports about the benefits of using visualisers in secondary schools and was keen to pilot their use on GCSE English resit programmes in her college.
  • The project at PETROC has explored ways in which the VESPA approach (Oakes and Griffin, 2017) to teaching study skills had been developed within a 6th Form College.
  • Georgina Choat at Harlow College was originally inspired to explore the importance of oracy skills in her OTLA project by attending events organised through the Voice 21 Project in schools.

Synergy with other ETF-funded projects

I have also been delighted to see how many practitioners on this year’s OTLA programme have accessed resources and training offered by other ETF-funded projects, suggesting a valuable synergy that can be of considerable benefit to those concerned and shows an efficient use of government funding.

For example, as part of an earlier OTLA project in 2017, Dom Thompson and colleagues at Havant and South Downs College produced an online resource, Teachers Takeaway, a bank of short informal video interviews with teachers who are keen to report on their success in introducing innovative teaching strategies into their practice. This excellent online resource continues to be updated with new material and features, and has been an inspiring example for those working on this year’s OTLA programme; it shows how digital technology can enable teachers to share their ideas and enthusiasm in ways that can often be more persuasive and convincing than a written report.

Similarly, in the very early stages of his project, Tom Vines at Brooklands College appreciated the opportunity to access and adapt resources shared on a Padlet board by members of an ETF Professional Exchange Network (PEN). The PEN was set up in the Eastern region to share examples of reading material that were effective in engaging and motivating reluctant readers on GCSE English resit programmes. The resultant collection provided a useful source of ideas for Tom and his colleagues as they began their own action research project.

Finally, in the early months of the OTLA project some organisations were able to request training on topics relevant to their chosen research interests such as phonics, use of a visualiser and embedded approaches.



Action research – theory and practice

A key source of interest and pleasure for me has also been the opportunity to meet and work with Professor Jean McNiff at three of the national events featured in this year’s OTLA programme. I was already familiar with her distinctive approach to action research from reading some of her articles and books but it has been fascinating to hear her talk through her ideas within the context of our post-16 sector and the particular challenges we face in English teaching.

In her presentation at the launch event in York, Jean explored different types of knowledge and prompted us to consider how the prestige attached to the abstract knowledge generated by traditional academic research in universities often contrasts with the lower status of knowledge gained by practitioners through reflection on their own experiences in workplaces and in everyday life. The low status of ‘experiential, practice-based forms of knowledge’ (McNiff, 2017, p 50), she says, is an example of ‘epistemic injustice’ (McNiff, 2020) that we should resist.

“The form of knowledge and its acceptability still tends to be linked to how much the knower is publicly valued: people on the high ground are seen as legitimate knowers and theorists while those in the swampy lowlands are seen as trainees and hopefuls. Schön does not accept this situation: practitioners, he says, should create their own knowledge through investigating their practices and thereby promote themselves as powerful and competent practitioner-researchers who are able to produce their personal theories of practice to account for what they do.”
(McNiff, 2017, pp 73-74)

From this theoretical basis Jean has encouraged our practitioner researchers to value the ‘knowledge claims’ that can result from using a rigorous and well-planned action research process to structure their OTLA projects. This empowering message is particularly welcome at a time when teachers are trying to find their own creative solutions to new challenges of delivering GCSE and Functional Skills English qualifications.

Jean is the first to say that academic research clearly has its place (McNiff, 2017, pp37), most often perhaps in clarifying starting points for an action research project. She also encourages teachers to value the opportunities they have on the OTLA programme to generate valuable knowledge and theories from within their own practice. I was delighted to see how positive and responsive our practitioners have been in engaging in such discussions and to note how Jean’s ideas have served to develop their confidence in the role they have as practitioner researchers.

A willingness to value “experiential, practice-based forms of knowledge” is a key feature of all types of action research and underpins the OTLA programme and other ETF joint practice development initiatives. It has also been rewarding to revisit with Jean the important debate about different modes of knowledge and to consider the kind of rigour needed to build into action research projects if they are to generate knowledge claims that will be seen by others as valid and reliable. Central to that rigour is the need for practitioners to ‘theorise their practice’; and in the latter stages of the OTLA programme I have been able to support project workers in this important stage of the research process.

For example, Laura Holland at The College of West Anglia managed a project rejecting the use of acronyms such as PEE and PETAL, on GCSE English resit programmes in favour of alternative writing support strategies. However, she and her team have realised that as well as exploring the technical aspects of teaching writing skills they have also recognised the importance of gathering information about the attitudes and experiences of resit learners at the start of the course.

For example, in asking learners to discuss their views on the use of acronyms, teachers found ways of building stronger working relationships more quickly with learners and gained valuable insights into the relevance of study skills not only to the use of acronyms but to other aspects of their English programme. Laura and colleagues are keen to undertake another action research cycle next year to explore this area further.

Similarly, Tom Vines at Brooklands College notes that the experience of involving learners as key members of his research team has encouraged him and other managers to consider using this collaborative approach to curriculum design more extensively as it yielded unexpected benefits.

In discussions with Laura and Tom about their research projects I suggested that their insights reflect some of the findings in the study carried out by the DfE (Hume et al, 2018) to identify ways of improving retention on GCSE resit programmes. One of the report recommendations emphasised the effectiveness of interventions to actively explore and validate learners’ backgrounds and experiences, and enable learners to feel ‘a sense of belonging’ both on their programmes and within the college generally.

However, given the original timescale and funding constraints of the OTLA project, time for such discussions looked to be limited and threatened to restrict the important opportunities for practitioners to theorise their practice.

Fortunately, additional funding was offered to providers in the last month of the programme so they could continue to bring practitioners together to reflect collaboratively on their research findings. These discussions turned out to be highly productive.



Dissemination of early research findings

In a December meeting of an English Practitioners Network in the Eastern region I arranged for two managers from the OTLA programme to update network members on their progress and early research findings. The feedback from members was extremely positive and indicated that teachers value the opportunity to hear from colleagues who are piloting new teaching approaches in authentic teaching contexts and are willing to share their resources and tentative conclusions about their new practices.

Such presentations can be challenging for those delivering them, as teachers will quite rightly probe any explanation of a causal link between an intervention and its impact. But overwhelmingly and quite understandably, practitioners attach a premium to authentic accounts from those ‘working at the chalkface’ who face challenges similar to their own and who value ‘experiential, practice-based forms of knowledge’.
After the meeting several members noted on their evaluation forms that they would be very keen to be involved in the OTLA programme next year and one of the managers at the meeting emailed me the next morning to say:

“I just wanted to thank you for convening yesterday’s meeting. I found it really inspiring and have taken away with me a host of ideas. I spent most of my journey home thinking and planning and it has helped to invigorate some enthusiasm at the end of a long term!”

Within a curriculum area that continues to face daunting challenges I feel the OTLA programme this year has been an uplifting and valuable experience for all of us who have been directly involved and, I hope too, for those who may read these reports and access the resources we have created.