We’ve had a busy few weeks so please take the time to read the updates below:

Prevent Duty support

Mock Inspection

Robert Powell Training

Mental Health Awareness training opportunities


Prevent Duty

Since the beginning of term we have received feedback from tutors who are finding it unsure how to approach this subject with learners. To support with this we have worked out a suggestion of what tutors could say, which you may find helpful:

“As teachers we have a duty to provide an environment that is safe and inclusive. There are laws which say that we have to let our safe-guarding officer, who is Lesley Welborn, know if we feel any of our leaners might be vulnerable to abuse or to radicalisation. The types of abuse are shown on this poster/page 12 of the learner handbook. On page 9 there is information about cyberbullying when you’re using the internet or social media. By radicalisation we mean becoming active in extreme politics or religion and expressing intent to cause harm to others. It is more than just expressing strong views about politics or religion.

If you have are worried about anything, you can talk to me or Lesley Welborn. You can find more details about this and Lesley’s details on page 8-11 of the Learner Handbook. Part of Lesley’s job is to deal with anything like that and she has to tell the appropriate agencies, who can offer help.”

Please let us know if this works for you, or if you have any other suggestions/comments.

Don’t forget that you should be doing online training for practitioners available here: http://www.preventforfeandtraining.org.uk/

Mock Inspection

Between 13th and 15th October observers from other local authorities came to see a number of ACL classes as a “mock inspection” exercise. One third of the classes seen – a significant number – were rated as grade 1 – with exceptional, outstanding and inspirational teaching and learning. Fantastic results!

A number of classes were seen and rated as good BUT  in a few the documentation let them down as it was not complete (and in a couple of cases not there at all) for example:

  • venue  & activity risk assessments (including making sure that ALDD learners have been asked if they require special arrangements for emergency evacuation);
  • planning documents (scheme of work and session plans), group profiles;
  • learners’ progress records (ILPs);

Tutors – please note: you should actively hand the course file to the Inspector and not wait to be asked for it.

A few number of poorer classes were seen which were not planned very well, the learners were not able to explain what they were doing, there was little evidence of initial assessment or differentiation and little or no use of ILT. We will be supporting tutors to improve their practice.

A couple of very important messages for us all to take note of:

  • Any Health and Safety issues eg trips or spillages, must be dealt with immediately and effectively by the tutor – poor practice in this can lead to an overall  grade 4 – INADEQUATE! Learners carrying out high risk activities involving cutting, soldering etc. must be clearly be seen to be watched closely by the tutor.

  • The Inspectors MUST be asked to sign in to venues (except for public buildings like libraries|) and asked for proof of ID.

Thanks to all the tutors who were observed.

Robert Powell Training

We have had some great feedback from the Robert Powell training session in September.

Shirley Bate from Codsall High was observed and was using the Blockbusters game displayed on a computer screen to recap key terms from the previous week’s lesson. Learners were challenged and really enjoyed the quiz team aspect of the activity.

Jane Smith from WEA got in touch to let us know the changes she has put in place since the training and the impact these have had on learning. The training had given her lots of useful ideas about using games, including differentiation, ensuring that every learner is successful every lesson, clarifying aims and objectives and other activities including:

  • increased amount of multi-sensory approaches – slides on an iPad colourful handouts, practical demonstrations, and mini quizzes and games to revise new words and techniques – to better cater for all learners learning styles.
  • encouraging learners to support each other by displaying a “please help” chart – learners didn’t necessarily write their names up to offer support explicitly but the amount of peer support did increase nonetheless so learners seem to be taking an implicit message and acting on it!
  • the use of games to reinforce key words and terminology,

Jane had the following feedback: “Attending the CPD training has broadened my thinking and I have also implemented some new ideas of my own. The one that I feel has had the most success is, what I have called, the “stop-go” sign. As I have a high percentage of students with social anxiety and other mental health issues within my class I felt that I was avoiding group discussions and Q & A sessions as I had noticed that some students became uncomfortable in case I asked them a question or asked them to discuss their project in front of the group. This would occasionally result in those students not attending the following session. I wanted to give these students the chance to “opt out” of talking if they don’t feel up to it on that particular day. Each student has a sign on their desk with a green tick on one side and a red cross on the other. At the beginning of each group discussion or Q & A I encourage them to use their “stop-go” signs to indicate if they wish to verbally participate. I have found that students who had been really anxious about speaking out are now voluntarily turning their sign to green and choosing to speak out.

Thank you for inviting me to the training. As you can see I have found it very useful, and I look forward to attending future training sessions.”

  • Great to hear these outcomes from the training and thanks to everyone who has got in touch.

Mental Health Awareness sessions – Another Exciting CPD opportunity for tutors

One in 4 of us will be affected by a mental health condition in our lifetimes. Clearly there are many learners on our courses who are experiencing mental health issues and as tutors, we want to feel as confident that we are doing our best for them.

We have asked Changes to deliver a 2.5 hour session with the title “How best to support learners with mental ill health”

The sessions will be:

  • Wednesday 27th January 2016, 14.00-16.30 at Stafford SP1
  • Wednesday 27th January 2016, 17.30-20.00 at Stafford SP1
  • Friday 5th February 2016, 9.30-12.00 at Lichfield Library

The sessions are free to tutors working on ACL programmes this year. You will be given lots of ideas as to how to recognise learners with mental health issues and how best to support their learning within your group.  Please book your place by contacting Liz McGee on 01785 276343 or elizabeth.mcgee@staffordshire.gov.uk

We look forward to seeing you soon!









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