Finding Our Feet at the First FEET Meet

Further Education English Teachers from across Yorkshire gathered in The Acorn Inn at Burncross in Sheffield for the first FEET (Further Education English Teacher) Meet last Saturday, a *free* CPD event hosted by EduKayte.ChTbdxcWUAAnPcM

The FEET Meet forums aim to give FE English teachers a networking and support group, focused on meeting new and existing challenges faced in FE regarding GCSE English Language, sharing good practice and receiving CPD from colleagues working in FE and in Secondary Schools.

FEET Meet forums will take place throughout the summer and into 16/17 to fully prepare our FE teachers for the delivery of the new specification, whether teachers are delivering from September 2016, or the following year.

The agenda:

12:30-1:30 – Lunch and Networking

A chance to network, rummage in the gift bag and eat some lunch.

Goodie bags included paper based resources, badges, pens, stickers, flyers on further CPD events (including the Hodder Education event in Central London, Changing the Face of Functional Skills, on 23rd June) and an excellent Secondary School text book from Hodder Education, ‘Success AQA GCSE English Language, Grades 5-9.’


Click here for a sample of the text.

1:30-1:40 – Welcome and Intro – Kayte Haselgrove, Education and Training Consultant, Director of EduKayte

aJfv46G3_400x400An introduction to the aims and objectives of the FEET Meet! 

The main focus of the session was to find our feet, so we started with the basics. As part of the introduction, colleagues were given a break down of the new specification which links to a  GCSE English Language eLearning package specifically for Further Education students, currently being written by EduKayte for Hodder Education. The package will be available to training providers from September, 2016.

1.40-2.10 – Examining Bodies for New Spec, Helen Lees – HoD in a Secondary School in Sheffield

ChTcYw6W0AArLvGAn introduction to the examining bodies! 

Helen started the day off by breaking down the different examining boards, mainly AQA and WJEC, and sharing with us the links the new spec has to the current iGCSE English qualifications.

Following this, we were provided with a fantastic cheat sheet, summarising the skills the learners need to use for each individual question on both Paper 1 and Paper 2 for the new spec. A fantastic introduction to the qualification.

2.10-3.10 – Approaching the New Spec, Laura Kelly- Head of Key Stage in a Secondary School in Derby

What we need to teach and where to find resources!ChTbxkXWkAEPUqx

Laura shared some fantastic resources on what needs to be taught for each question on both Paper 1 and Paper 2, along with some teaching methods she has tried and tested with her Year 10s this academic year.

Throughout this breakdown we were given a heads up on issues sourcing nonfiction texts for mock comparative questions and solutions on how to overcome these hurdles.

She also provided a comparison between the two specifications, old and new, and a break down of which questions from the old spec most resembled questions in the new spec. Further guidance on this will be captured and shared at the next FEET Meet on 18th June.

The CPD session was then finished off with a pint/coffee/glass of pop, the sharing of details and a promise of a resource pack from EduKayte!


The feedback was 100% positive and when asked what teachers had enjoyed most about the day, responses included: “Networking and idea building.” “Meeting other teachers and sharing ideas.” “Visual learning resources.” “Strategies for teaching.” “Really useful for planning the new spec.” “Qual being broken down into pieces.” “Had a great day!”

The event was an absolute success and left the attendees asking when and where the next session was scheduled to be.

FEET Meet #2: One Step at a Time, Saturday 18th Juneedukayte-logo-whitebg-square

  • Planning the new spec – delivery in one year in FE
  • Practical methods of delivery – Speed Planning written responses
  • Techniques for teaching ESOL learners studying the new spec
  • A promise of new found professional relationships
  • Freebies, including another free Hodder Education text book for the new GCSE English Language specification…click here for a sample!

The event can be found here on Facebook. Please register your interest, the more the merrier!

How to PEE on Ofsted…the easy way to talk to Ofsted Inspectors…

Don’t get in a muddle, make an Ofsted Inspector puddle! 


sweatOf all the stresses we encounter during an Ofsted Inspection, (I don’t need to list them, do I?) the most stressful is often the thought of an Ofsted Inspector actually speaking to you. The rumours fly around about the last inspection; that one time someone in Childcare farted at the wrong moment and almost took your college from Outstanding to Unsatisfactory…and SMT are sending out gentle reminders that you work at the most supportive and happy college in the country, and any feedback from staff must resemble that message.

outstandingWe’re given lists upon lists of what should be in this folder, what should be in that folder, what questions learners may be asked, how classrooms should appear, what our lessons should consist of…the list of lists goes on! While it aims to be helpful, this list overload only leaves us feeling completely unarmed when we come up against a situation for which no list has been provided.

pee on inspectorIn any good college, your leaders will give you some guidance on what to say when approached by an Ofsted Inspector. However, managers are so used to evidencing the impact of everything they do in one succinct sentence, they miss that all important guidance on how you string these skillfully worded sentences together, without panicking that you’re about to blow the whole operation. It was when one of these good leaders was explaining what kind of things we need to be saying to Ofsted Inspectors that I realised, there’s a simple formula.

PEE on your Ofsted Inspector

As an English teacher, we teach our learners to PEE on their poems, on their essays, on their texts (variations of PEE are used e.g. PEEL, PEED and so on, but personally, I prefer to PEE on everything), so why not PEE on your inspector?


It works on anything!

Point (summarise what you want to share) – “We promote E&D successfully.”

Evidence (what action did you take) – “We have had lots of training on how to identify natural opportunities  and turn them in to learning experiences for the learners.”

Explain (the impact) – “We are able to confidently educate our learners about E&D, they understand their responsibilities in relation to the Equality Act and celebrate their differences, both through college projects and in everyday life!”

So, next time you’re being inspected, be sure to remove that anxiety by being prepared to PEE on your Inspector

Easy as that.

Displays: Are they for learning or for decoration? 

Nine times out of ten, you’ll find the best displays in college in the contemporary childcare departments. They outshine the out of date practitioners who seem to think that static displays printed in Comic Sans are the way forward; these practitioners are creative, dedicate time and effort to their displays and get the learners involved. So, why is it that childcare departments manage to get it so right?

They see everything as a learning opportunity, they have worked in environments where doors are used to display angles, name tags teach children the alphabet, images and colours are used as signposts for learning and displays are held in high regard! So, why is this not common practice?

Well, in many cases, it is, but if you are not taking advantage of those blank canvases in your classrooms, which can be used as prompts, word walls, unit signposts and celebrations of learning…then it’s time to change your ways!

Don’t have the time? It shouldn’t be your work, it should be a project for your learners…a learning tool! Here’s some ideas for tasks…

Task: How can you remember key terminology? Make a display! Use for starters and plenaries. Images from @EduKayte‘s GCSE English class.
Task: We need to monitor your learner journey. Using the marking criteria and design a display board for this! Images from @cazzwebbo’s classroom.
Task: We need to revise this topic, make a visual to help you remember what you need to do for each qs of the exam. Display it! Images from Karen Darvill’s classroom at Hertford Regional College.
Task: What have you learnt today? Display it! Images from @EduKayte‘s training session on using initial assessments to aid progress.

It’s as easy as that. Don’t stick it on a worksheet. Display it!

What are the benefits?

1) Learners will retain the information much more effectively as they have processed it in a different way.

2) It can be used as an interactive learning tool. No wait, it should be used as an interactive learning tool. (Down with static, Comic Sans, pointless displays!)

3) It makes it their space. Their learning space. Ownership can be everything to some learners.

4) Always check spelling! It’s develops English skills – capital letters for titles, use of punctuation etc.

5) It develops maths skills – measurements, area, diameters, scale and so on.

6) It’s a great activity!

To take every opportunity for learning, you must first see everything as an opportunity for learning.

Sometimes, teaching English and maths can feel like trying to take your cat out for a walk…

…you approach the task as if it’s going to be the best thing ever, your
enthusiasm knows no bounds as you prepare to lead the way…but their reluctance is powerful and eventually wears you down.

One of the biggest barriers to teaching English and maths skills is the powerful reluctance to engage. Many learners, and staff, have had negative, and sometimes even traumatic, experiences during their previous education in English and maths, which we simply need to overcome if we want the learners to achieve their full potential.

It’s not just you who has the reluctant moggy…

Recently, I’ve been working with colleges around the country and regardless of the individual staff training needs where ever I go all staff are finding the learner (and some staff) negativity to be one of the biggest challenges in the teaching of English and maths. Although this hasn’t come as a surprise to me at all, it did make me think that some easy pointers and tips might be gratefully received.

Make the cat feel happy, safe and confident and they’ll follow you anyway! 

Changing the mindsets of learners 

#1 Identifying barriers – it’s not just about completing initial assessments and diagnostics, then filing them away as job done, you need to assess in more detail. What are your learners likes and dislikes in English and maths? What are their fears? Their previous experiences? Their aspirations? Interactive activities to gain this information are invaluable.

acti#2 Meeting the needs and interests of learners – Gaining the knowledge above enables us to do just that. Following activities to identify further information about our learners’ previous experiences allows us to tailor our sessions to meet their learning needs, appeal to their interests and remove barriers early on. E.g.a learner studying English may refuse to engage due to a fear of having to read work to the group, if this learner is assured that this will never happen, the barrier is removed and they become engaged.

#3 Contextualising English and maths – The old classic we’ve all heard: ‘I didn’t come here to study English and maths’… but they did come to you to learn how to succeed in their chosen profession, so it seems obvious that we need to contextualise the sessions to highlight the relevance of English and maths to the learners. If your learners aren’t studying a vocational qualification, they still have interests, find out what they are and pickingcontextualise that way! E.g. adult learners will have hobbies, interests, aspirations – your activities can be created in a way which includes these.  The best way of thinking of ideas for this is by creating activities for your learners where they tell you the relevance. There are loads of resources out there to help you with this, but no better resources than the specialists who work alongside you…

#4 Collaboration between tutors – Vocational specialists and English and maths specialists have a common goal…to enable the learners to achieve and progress. Now, more than ever, vocational and English and maths are crossing over, if you’re not already doing it, it’s time to work together. Two simple methods: 1) English and maths specialists email vocational staff weekly to inform them of this weeks topic, vocational specialists reply with links to vocational lessons which will naturally occur. 2) Vocational tutors are required to support their learners to develop English and maths skills, where appropriate, in vocational sessions – English and maths teachers can share ways to support development of skills in weekly team meetings. #sharinggoodpractice!

#5 Changing the way we give feedbackDr Carol Dweck’s study on feedback explores the impact praising effort oppocarol dwecksed to intelligence has on learner progression. Think how it would feel as a D grade student in secondary school, potentially always achieving lower grades than some of your peers, even though you put as much effort in, if not more, than your class mates do…eventually, if the amount of effort goes unnoticed, the motivation would understandably disappear. Could this be a reason for that D grade? Remember that in college, our D grade students are top of the class! They have lots to share and if motivated successfully can step over that C grade threshold and beyond!

That’s enough to get started with…consider your own practice and if any of the above could be implemented more successfully.

Get it right and your learners could even lead the way for others.

To view an example training session on changing learner mindsets in maths and English, please visit by clicking here.

A Whole Team Approach: Hair and Beauty Team at a South Yorkshire College

In 13/14, according to the EFA, “The [new] goal [was] to give as many young people and adults as possible who lack good qualifications in maths and English the chance to take GCSEs in these subjects.”  (16 to 19 funding: maths and English condition of funding, 2014). As more learners were being challenged to achieve higher qualifications, lessons with English and maths subject specialist tutors were no longer sufficient as a standalone way of supporting learners to achieve a minimum of grade C in GCSE English and Maths.

In 13/14 I led on English and maths in the Hair and Beauty department in a South Yorkshire college. Here’s how we approached the challenges we all face today and achieved success for our learners!

Thinking Ahead: A Whole Team Approach: Hair and Beauty 13/14

GCSE group 1314
(Left to right) Carrie Brittain, Marcella Greenfield, Erica Lindsay, Lauren Fletcher and Chloe Gennard. GCSE English Language learners from Hair and Beauty Department, all who achieved a golden grade C in 13/14.

In 13/14 the Hair and Beauty department in a college in South Yorkshire achieved 91% Success in Functional Skills qualifications and 100% Success in achieving grade C at GCSE English Language and Maths.

Here’s how, in three easy steps…

1) Learning programmes contained appropriate attention to improving learners’ English, Mathematics and Functional Skills and ensured development of their employability skills…

…learners were enrolled to achievable and aspirational qualifications which supported them to improve their employability. 

All tutors who enrolled learners were equipped with the knowledge to advise learners on their progression routes in English and maths at interview. English and maths was promoted from the first time the learners meet a member of the team.

…staff knew how to use IA results and learners’ previous qualifications.

Not only did we use IA results to place learners on English and maths quals, but also Personal Tutors used these, along with other contributing factors, to ensure that learners were on the right vocational programmes.

…staff understood the levels of learners and used this knowledge to improve maths and English skills in vocational qualifications.

Katie Malpass

During literacy and numeracy walkthroughs I demonstrated how I use learners’ IA results to identify their capabilities in relation to ratio for mixing colours in practical sessions. For E3 level learners I teach them the theory behind how to mix colours using a visual memory technique, throughout the year I build their skills by introducing ratios (a Level 2 skill) so they can eventually calculate the quantities without the use of the visual memory tools. If I started with Level 2 skills from the beginning, some learners would find it almost impossible to learn.” Katie Malpass, Teacher for Hairdressing

2) Teaching and learning to support learners to develop the English, Mathematics and Functional Skills they need to achieve their main learning goals and career aims….

…staff received regular training, sought out guidance and engaged in all updates on English and maths in team meetings.

5 Minute Literacy and Numeracy PlanManagement ensured that English and maths held a permanent slot on the agenda for meetings and development days. Training included the introduction of the 5 Min Lit and Num Plan and regular sharing of good practice. Meetings ensured that the staff received regular updates in relation to English and maths initiatives and changes in government policy.

…staff engaged in sharing of good practice and experimented with approaches to promote English and maths in the classroom.

Claire Schofield

“The whole team is much more positive and confident promoting literacy and numeracy. Everyone contributed to the stall for Teachers’ Fair, which had an English and maths theme that year, (and won runner up for best stall!), and all staff are now using the resources which were shared. The whole team embraced this.” Claire Schofield, Programme Manager for Hairdressing

…teachers take the initiative to improve their own confidence in English and maths skills.

Julie Train

“I found in just the first 3 weeks of doing my GCSE Maths course with Essential Skills department that I can use it for angles and degrees when teaching cutting. I’ve created some useful resources to help bring maths into my lessons and feel more confident explaining to the learners how maths is relevant to hairdressing. I have learnt so much already and would definitely say that, for the first time in my life, I now love maths!” Julie Train, Teacher for Hairdressing

 3) Learners appreciate the importance of improving English, Mathematics and Functional Skills as appropriate in the context of their learning goals and life ambitions…

…tutors promoted English and maths successfully in vocational classes.

Jill Wilkinson, former Course Leader

Tutors received excellent feedback following external observations. “Learners could identify which literacy and numeracy skills were used in a commercial salon from skim reading colour charts, reading for meaning when following colouring instructions, estimating foil lengths and measuring accurate colour formulae including ratio…Learners naturally promoted literacy and numeracy skills which strengthened their industry experience and developed employer workplace needs.” Jill Wilkinson, Tutorial Team Leader

…learners had the opportunity to engage in a range of  initiatives related to English and maths.

Easy sticky note resource for use to promote literacy and numeracy skills in class evaluations.Learners engaged in learner led projects, including ‘I use literacy and numeracy’ poster project which ran across the college. All tutors in Hair and Beauty are now using the ‘Have you used English and maths?’ resource in class for learners to identify and summarise skills used in class.

…Functional Skills/GCSE tutors make their classes more engaging for learners and ensure that all skills learnt are transferable.

Debbie Gillespie
Debbie Gillespie

“[The Functional Skills teachers had] a real passion for what [they] teach and they [made] English and maths fun and interesting for all our learners and give us the knowledge to promote it within our lessons.” Debbie Gillespie, Course Leader for Beauty

The Impact of a Whole Team Approach in Three Easy Steps

full team
Hair and Beauty Team 13/14
  • Happy Learners – less resistance to attend maths and English classes, as the learners understand why it’s important for them to do so. This message was strongly reinforced by the whole team approach to promoting the importance of English and maths.
  • Improving Learner Employability – During English and maths walkthroughs, learners reported that they see the relevance and work hard to achieve the qualifications, making them more employable and improving positive destinations.
  • Improving Department Overall SuccessSuccess rates of 100% for GCSE English Language and Maths and 91% for Functional Skills in English and Maths.
  • Outstanding Approach to Teaching, Learning & Assessment – Meeting OFSTED expectations.
Karen Carr

“Having a team approach in promoting English and maths had a positive impact on learners; they fully [understood] and engage[d] in developing these skills which …. led to successful outcomes.” Karen Carr, Head of Department for Hair and Beauty.

In my new business, EduKayte – Education and Training Consultancy, I now work with colleges across the country to build the same team ethos, provide vocational staff with the same knowledge and confidence and ultimately enable the learners to access the same fantastic opportunities for success in English and maths.

Click here to see the training packages available at EduKayte

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

Ofsted Loves English and Maths

It’s not only us who are interested in building a loving relationship between vocational
subjects and English and maths, Ofsted are also going strong when it comes to education and supporting our learners in working towards achieving that golden grade C (and above!), their ticket to a life time of employment, happiness and success. Pre 2015, Ofsted wanted to know ‘whether learning programmes contain appropriate attention to improving learners English, mathematics and Functional Skills, ensuring development of their employability skills,’ and we had to show them that they did, but since then things have stepped up a notch or two. It feels like English and maths are now the centre of the FE universe (not that I’m complaining) and therefore massively in the spotlight.

So, what’s changed?

What Ofsted were looking for pre Sept, 2015…

Teaching and learning supports learners to develop the English, mathematics and functional skills they need to achieve their main learning goals and career aims.

Learners progress in English, mathematics, language and functional skills is monitored and reviewed and their work is marked carefully.

Learners appreciate the importance of improving their English, mathematics and functional skills as appropriate in the context of their learning goals and life ambitions.

Resources to meet the above objectives include…

The 5 Minute English and Maths Promotion Plan (previously known as The 5 Minute Literacy and Numeracy Plan)

5 Minute Literacy and Numeracy Plan completed by Anita Wilkinson, Course Leader in Hair and Beauty
5 Minute Literacy and Numeracy Plan completed by Anita Wilkinson, Course Leader in Hair and Beauty

If you would like support in recognising how you are already embedding literacy and numeracy in to your vocational subjects, then I recommend you try The 5 Minute English and Math Promotion Plan. Click on the image to see a completed version of the plan. This is a quick and easy way to help you to identify areas where you are promoting English and maths in your subjects already, which in turn will enable your learners to make clearer connections themselves.

What the CIF says now…

Teaching, learning and assessment support learners to develop their skills in English, mathematics and ICT and their employability skills, including appropriate attitudes and behaviours for work, in order to achieve their learning goals and career aims.

Staff promote, where appropriate, English, mathematics, ICT and employability skills exceptionally well and ensure that learners are well-equipped with the necessary skills to progress to their next steps.

So, now we need to not only be identifying opportunities for English and maths within vocational subjects and promoting their importance in relation to their future employment, staff need to also be supporting learners to develop their English and maths skills in order t achieve their learning goals and career aims.

There’s the difference.

A great place to start this journey towards development, would be to identify where the opportunities arise, so get your I heart maths t-shirt on, grab a coffee in your I heart English mug and have a crack at the recently updated 5 Minute English and Maths Promotion Plan…which can be found here.

Further techniques and strategies to follow, but first, get your head around this one! Have fun.