Sharing Good Practice – how are you developing your practice?

We would like to share with you some examples of great practice that we have seen recently. How are these issues demonstrated in your own teaching?  Would any of these practices enhance your teaching and learning? Would they need to be adapted to work with your groups? How?

Do let us know if you put any ideas into practice as it is fantastic to see how we are learning from each other as a teaching community. And don’t forget that Amanda and I are available to give you any support you want to implement any new ideas.

Tutor Sally Tippett
Course Functional Skills
Provider Acorn Training
Programme Area Functional Skills – learners with moderate learning difficulties
Method of identification Observation

An innovative way to present and practice functional skills by embedding the FS into a fascinating topic – SPACE!

  • Prior to half term learners had been learning about Ancient Egypt, Citizenship and Staying Safe with embedded English skills.   Skill development has included letter formation, spelling, sentence structure, listening and pronunciation.
  • For the remaining term learners will learn about space and develop their numeracy skills.
  • The tutor swiftly introduces the learning outcomes and theme verbally. Plenty of positive reactions from the learners showing they are interested in the space theme.
  • The tutor asks key questions ‘where is space’? ‘what is the solar system’? and uses a presentation displayed on a large TV screen to prompt learners further ‘what can you see’? The tutors communication is very animated which encourages individual learners to describe their current knowledge and/or what they see on the screen. A well-thought out and purposeful informal initial assessment to ascertain starting points.
  • The presentation and learner-led activities continue with the introduction of eight planets. Tutor stops at regular intervals to ask nominated learners to count how many planets are showing on the screen
  • Outstanding learner engagement. All learners stay on track and demonstrate much commitment to learning and developing a range of skills (subject specific, English, maths and ICT)
  • A lively pace working extremely well alongside a range of creative teaching, learning and assessment methods to maximise learning.
  • Very effective use of differentiated activities and questioning to ensure learning is inclusive and that learners are challenged and progress exceptionally well.
  • Excellent use of ILT with appropriate embedded learner-led activities to enhance learning.
  • Strong focus on establishing a vibrant and stimulating learning environment. This includes whole group and independent learning opportunities.
  • Excellent initial assessment activity that is learner friendly and informs delivery content, delivery style and additional support required.

Tutor Tracy Francis
Course Riding for the Disables
Provider Gartmore Riding School
Programme Area CLT Responsiveness Fund
Method of identification RARPA

 A clear framework to get learners to reflect on the development of their wider skills

(double click on the photo to enlarge)

  • The tutor has a workbook of classroom-based activities to back up the practical work done at the riding school.
  • There is a header within the document, displayed on each page, which lists the key wider skills: Maths, English, ICT, Employability and British Values.  The concepts are discussed with learners at induction to the course, so that they understand how these aspects are embedded on their course.
  • At the end of sessions the learners are asked to reflect on which skills from the above list they have developed during the session and how.
  • We have also seen a similar activity where learners are given a tick list of “soft” skills and they decide what skills they have developed within the activity.
  • Being aware of what and how these skills are developed allows learners to focus more actively on these skills. In turn they are more able to recognise the progress they have made in these areas.

Tutor Brendan Davies
Course Chapter 2 – Drama
Provider New Vic Theatre
Programme Area ALDD
Method of identification Observation

A creative way of using ILT to support capturing learners’ personal goals and embedding the RARPA process in the activities

  • Learning is greatly enhanced through effective implementation of creative approaches to teaching, learning and assessment activities.
  • For example a unique approach and use of ILT to capture audio recordings of target setting, challenging learners through a feed-forward approach and recording progress and achievement.  Learners have been given an individual sheet as they come into the session with a few suggested personal outcomes, and are encouraged to select some that they want to achieve. The tutor sets up a microphone in the middle of the circle. The tutor then asks the learners to say these out loud and they are recorded. The tutor later refers back to the recording to assess whether targets have been achieved during the session.
  • Learners fully engaged in a RARPA process that is appropriately embedded.
  • Learners are making exceptional progress and are achieving their course learning outcomes and personal targets – vast majority are challenged throughout.
  • Excellent use of differentiated activities and effective questioning style implemented.

Tutor Owen Brown
Course Art for all
Provider Codsall High School
Programme Area Leisure
Method of identification Observation

A clear and consistent message that the learners’ critique of their own work is fundamental to making progress in their skills.

  • Excellent verbal exposition of the topic “Chiaroscuro” enhanced by still life set up with lamps and powerpoint presentation with works of art from a broad range of sources including old masters, photography and stills from film.
  • Very effective approach focussed on developing learners’ ability to critique their own work, reviewing and assessing their learning – the tutor asked the learners to display their work from the previous session, and encouraged them to talk in some detail about what they thought had worked, and any areas they would like to improve. All learners were honest and open, supportive of each other, and the tutor summarised with extremely encouraging and yet challenging comments – and congratulations on the learners’ progress.
  • Excellent communication with learners to draw out honest critique and to encourage and motivate.
  • Learners happy to engage in this process and can appreciate how this helps improve their skills.
  • The tutor asks the learners to pause their work on a regular basis, to undertake this evaluative process and really stresses the importance of critiquing their own work. Excellent progress made by learners in the short time they have been attending the course.

For me, it is interesting that this sample of good practice taken over the last 4-6 weeks includes 3 examples where a central tenet is enabling the learners to develop their own skills of self-assessment and reflection. In these session tutors were facilitating learners to recognise for themselves the progress they are making, and the areas they could develop next.  This is a tricky skill, but one that is vital to ideas of growth mind-set and self-efficacy (and RARPA!).  These in turn are key to self-esteem and confidence and have the power to impact on learners’ lives far beyond the classroom.

Do leave me a comment below if these ideas are useful, if you try anything out in practice or if it sparks off a whole new idea for you – we always appreciate your feedback!


Self-assessment report 2016/17 and Quality Improvement Plan 2017/18

Please see below a summary of some of the Strengths and Areas for Development from the Skills and Employability Self-Assessment Report 2016/17. This document reviews the performance of Apprenticeships provision and Adult Community Learning – the information and evaluation that you record in your End of course evaluations are used by your managers to feed into this review.  I have picked out the highlights below as being most relevant to tutors delivering on ACL courses.  The Areas for Development inform the Quality Improvement Plan which managers have devised and will be working on over the current academic year.  It is important that, as a tutor, you are clear how your practice contributes to this, especially the areas highlighted in blue below.

Summary of Headline Key Strengths and Areas for Development

  • Learners receive very good information and advice
  • the vast majority of learners develop strong personal and work-related skills which develop self-confidence and work-readiness. Good and effective wider outcomes achieved for ‘hard to reach learners’, such as reducing isolation, social inclusion, mental health and the impact on family life and health.
  • Good achievement in 2016/2017 sustained across the majority of Community Learning Programmes.
  • progress in improving provision on Leisure, Employability, IT and ESOL at Entry level 1–Level 1
  • Learners on accredited programmes have achieved above target; a 6.9% increase in achievement rates compared to the 2015/16
  • Provision for learners on ESOL at Entry level 1–Level 1, has vastly improved and is outstanding.
  • The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is good with 90% of sessions judged as good or better, with an improved rate of tutors receiving grade one observations.
  • Highly effective safeguarding arrangements and strong initiatives to promote staff and learners’ awareness of the risks of extremism and radicalisation; as a result, learners feel safe and are safe.
  • Strong partnerships at Council level, ensuring the Service meets the needs of residents.
  • Strong and effective quality assurance and improvement arrangements.


What the Service needs to do further

  • All learners should receive clear and relevant individualised targets, which are regularly monitored, so they have a better understanding of their progress and achievement.
  • Provide sufficiently challenging activities for all learners, particularly for the most able, in order for those learners to remain motivated and engaged in lessons.
  • Continue to promote British Values and raise learners’ awareness of the risks of radicalisation and extremism in ways that are appropriate to learners’ interests and abilities.
  • Improve attendance in all lessons (target 88%).
  • Ensure the retention of learners in 2017/2018 is improved particularly Family Learning and CLT programmes (target 95%).
  • FEML (Family English, maths and language) programmes require improvement.
  • Implement strategies to engage more adult males on Community Learning programmes.
  • Closely monitor achievement across Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) learners to ensure performance is consistent across all groups.


If you are not sure about any of the above, or have any questions please do leave a comment so we can get back to you, or to speak to your manager.

This will be the last blog of 2017, so we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – whatever you are doing, have a lovely break and we’ll see you in 2018!


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