English skills: an easier life for teachers

Integrating literacy development for all, improving expert learning skills, high-grades, and GCSE grades. 

Available in-person or online. Next open, online session:

  • Location     Zoom
  • Date            tbc (please contact for bespoke options)
  • Time           13:00 – 16:30
  • Cost            £39

Typical inspection issues

  • Teachers in vocational areas do not routinely develop learners’ English skills so that they fully understand the importance of these skills and how to apply them.
  • Too many teachers do not link the development of English skills to their vocational subjects. As a result, students do not improve their English knowledge, skills and confidence quickly enough.


English skills: an easier life for teachers is a half-day session.

Publicity information for event organisers

The whole FE and Skills sector is struggling with how to improve the development of learners’ literacy skills and its subsequent impact on qualification outcomes. Nationally, less than a third of learners succeed with their resit, but why? Establishing the root cause of this underperformance is obviously a pre-requisite to finding the solution. Could it be that teachers don’t know how to embed literacy development effectively? Or perhaps that both vocational teachers and learners view English as a separate, second-class subject?

In this session, delegates will explore both of these issues by looking at the seamless overlap between the nine GCSE English assessment objectives set by Ofqual and the core skills of the expert/independent learner. In other words, when staff plan expert learning skill outcomes in their lessons they will not only be proactively developing learners’ independent learning skills, they will also be embedding effectively all nine of the GCSE English assessment objectives.

But this strategy is not simply about GCSE resits, it is about the continual development of all learners’ literacy skills. Just imagine the qualification with a different title such as: ‘Level 3 Expert Learning Skills’. The rewards for all can be substantial, improving the high-grade and high value-added rates of main qualifications. Being a significant win for learners, and an easy win for teachers, this strategy is a must for any education provider wanting to avoid an Ofsted nightmare.

Information for potential delegates

There’s another way to think about level-2 English qualifications.

Learners who have not achieved a level-2 in English are at a disadvantage. If recruited onto a level-3 vocational course, there is a strong chance they will underachieve, and in doing so, will cost staff time they can’t afford.

The wonder of FE is that many staff are first and foremost experts in their vocational field, but not necessarily expert at teaching English. However, FE’s main role is actually not to teach the vocational subject, but to use the ‘hook’ of the vocational subject to teach our learners how to learn. This might seem counterintuitive, but just consider the shelf-life of the content that was taught just five or 10 years ago.

This session gets under the skin of English assessment criteria in a logical, no-nonsense way, and shows that they’re all really no more than the expert, independent learning skills FE is supposed to develop. And if teachers invest in developing these skills in their learners, they’re guaranteed to have an easier life.

This session will enable delegates to:

  • list the nine GCSE English assessment objectives (AOs)
  • identify these AOs in practice and map them against core expert/independent learning skills
  • use their understanding of the AOs to develop innovative approaches to embedding literacy development in schemes of work
  • reflect on the writing of learning outcomes to include the development of expert-learner (and so GCSE English) skills.

What the delegates say

  • For an overview of feedback on this session, please click here.

These comments can be invaluable when generating curiosity about forthcoming training.


CSE English: Avoiding Ofsted nightmares is a half-day session, though a shortened, two-hour version, with less practical activity can be delivered.

Typical uses in a staff development day include:


To discuss your requirements in detail, please phone or drop us a line.


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