The Move from Embedding to Promoting

We all know that Teaching, Learning and Assessment is a limiting grade and without having Outstanding English and maths success rates, that Outstanding grade is out of our reach.

As per the School Inspection Handbook“Inspectors observe in lessons, speak to pupils and review pupils’ work in order to make a judgement about the quality of teaching in the school overall and over time.”

Gone are the days when we could crack out our fanciest teaching and learning methods to impress the inspectors on the day. In order to achieve Outstanding, we need to ensure that we are focused on learner progress and on providing excellent feedback throughout the academic year. Absolutely right.

With English and maths so high on the agenda right now, we need to be engaging in achievable solutions which encourage our learners to appreciate the importance of English and maths in relation to their vocational qualifications, as well as ensuring we are promoting and developing the skills appropriately in class.

How do we know we need to improve on this?

Regardless of how much good practice we see from tutors ’embedding’ literacy and numeracy in their classes, we still find that learners are unaware of how they use English and maths skills in their chosen professions. Enter the need for promotion and development of English and maths skills by vocational tutors.

How do we fix this? 
Following a recent conversation with a vocational Ofsted Inspector, specifically regarding English and maths, it became apparent that along with engaging our learners by understanding and appreciating the importance of English and maths skills ourselves, we need to hand English and maths back to the learners for them to engage with.

How do you use English and maths?

Why do you need English and maths skills?

Why is English and maths important to you?

Promoting English and Maths 

To do this, it was suggested that we could ask the learners where they had used the skills in the lesson. If we did this day to day, the learners’ knowledge and understanding of their relevance would improve dramatically. Click on the image to download the sticky note resource below as a PDF to use in your classes as you wish.

Easy sticky note resource for use to promote literacy and numeracy skills in class evaluations.
Easy sticky note resource for use to promote English and maths skills in class evaluations.

Some suggestions…

  • Have a few laminated for learners to use in groups at the end of the session to identify the skills they have used and write how they used these skills in the sticky notes in the centre.
  • Use the document as a poster and do similar to above/get learners to stick their own post it notes around or on the poster saying how they have used English and maths in the lesson. (They could add sticky notes when they identify skills which aren’t already identified on the resource).
  • Ask the learners to identify at the start of the lesson which ones they think they will use from the objectives/which ones they actually used at end etc.
  • Any other creative and innovative way of using it you can think of which promotes English and maths.


Sticky Notes in Practice

Originally this resource was trialed in a college in South Yorkshire, in a Hair and Beauty

Emma Hanks, Advanced Practitioner for Hair and Beauty at a college in South Yorkshire.

department. The feedback was extremely positive, the learners responded well to the resource, the staff embraced the use of the resource and learners were able to list how English and maths were relevant to their qualifications. Not only this, but the tutors became “more confident in promoting the use of English and maths as they found more and more instances where they were naturally developing learner skills in English and maths within the vocational context.” Emma Hanks, Advanced Practitioner.

Since the original trial of this resource, it has been shared across the college and is now used in training sessions across the country to inspire the creation of further resources as part of a training session on the promotion of English and maths in vocational teaching, learning and assessment.

Click here to explore the training packages available at



Experienced teacher in all things English: I teach GCSE English Language, FS English at all levels and deliver bespoke training and qualifications in promoting English and maths to all vocational departments as an Education and Training Consultant. I have mentored many trainee teachers specialising in English and maths, who work for and/or complete placements at college, supporting them in all aspects of becoming a confident teacher of English/maths in Further Education. I provide training on teaching and learning to colleges across the country and am an author for Hodder Education, writing contextualised English resources for use in vocational areas and GCSE English resources for use in FE.

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