The OTLA 7 (English and Maths) Action Research Programme

The OTLA (English and Maths) programme was delivered by ccConsultancy in partnershipZoom screenshot with That Reading Thing and Skills Digital. This was the 7th phase of OTLA projects we delivered on behalf of the Education and Training Foundation and funded by the Department for Education. This was the 4th OTLA phase that we were involved in as delivery partners.

Fifteen clusters researched new approaches for teaching maths and English in the post-16 sector and focused upon driving professional development for staff through encouraging practitioners to use action research to explore and integrate those approaches into teaching, learning and assessment.

Read the project mailouts from the year alongside the final event curated programme.

You can download the full programme anthology (fondly known as the ‘Big Rainbow Book’) with all reports and editorials on the Excellence Gateway’s Practitioner Research + Evidence Portal (PREP).


  • Cluster 1

    • Assessment for learning (AfL)
    • Developing writing

    Mentor: Sue Lownsbrough

  • Cluster 2

    • engagement
    • resilience
    • vocabulary

    Mentor: Catherine McPartland

  • Cluster 3

    • Developing writing

    Mentor: Sonia Thomas

  • Cluster 4

    • Developing writing

    Mentor: Catriona Mowat

  • Cluster 5

    • Exploring new approaches to engage learners

    Mentor: Dianne Robinson

  • Cluster 6

    • Visualisers
    • New support models

    Mentor: Helen Hewlett

  • Cluster 7

    • Curriculum approaches to improve engagement
    • Online learning approaches

    Mentor: Catherine Gray

  • Cluster 8

    • Assessment for learning (AfL)
    • Feedback / target setting

    Mentor: Rachel Öner

  • Cluster 9

    • Online learning approaches

    Mentor: Sue Southwood

  • Cluster 10

    • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

    Mentor: Sheran Johnson

  • Cluster 11

    • Phonics
    • Language and maths

    Mentor: Kirsty Powell

  • Cluster 12

    • Feedback / target setting

    Mentor: Lesley Littlewood

  • Cluster 13

    • Using technology

    Mentor: Lynne Taylerson

  • Cluster 14

    • Curriculum approaches to improve engagement
    • Embedding

    Mentor: Paul Stych

The Greater Your Storm, the Brighter your Rainbow: Sharing Pots of Gold from the OTLA Programme in Lockdown

Claire Collins + Dr Vicky Butterby

Project Director and Programme Manager

Practitioner Action Research and Professional Wellbeing

Dr Andy Convery

Research and Professional Development Lead

Helping the Learners Feel the Relevance of English

Sue Lownsbrough

Research Group Lead


Patterns and Reflections

Tricia Millar

Research Group Lead


Digital Skills are Essential in a Global Pandemic (and Beyond)

David Prinn

Research Group Lead and Quality Lead