InTuition - December 2020

Page 1

Issue 42 Winter 2020

The journal for professional teachers and trainers in the further education and training sector


Bouncing back and embracing change in 2021 19

Teaching in prisons: education as an engine of change 21

A turning point for equality, diversity and inclusion?

REACHING OUT How to support learners’ mental health

01 COVER_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 1

25/11/2020 15:15


HAVE YOUR SAY ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT NEEDS Make your voice heard We are running our ur biggest consultation con onsu on sult l at ation io on ffo for or me m members emb mber ers and non-me non-members to discover how SET can an have greater impact helping those in the sector, improving career opportunities, es and championing the quality of teaching and training across FE. By taking part and completing your survey, you will be helping raise the status of your profession and ensuring you and your fellow professionals are served with the best possible resources, events and support in the years ahead. Get involved and invest in the future of FE professional support!

Have your say: Membership Matters has been commissioned by SET to run this research independently. Results will be shared with SET, but all responses will remain strictly anonymous. Membership Matters agrees to uphold the standards of excellence laid out in the MRS Code of Conduct and the MRS Quality Commitment.

INT.DEC20.002.indd 2

20/11/2020 15:10







Launch of the ETF’s T Level Professional Development Platform

An insight into how BTEC applied science students responded to learning online



Views from David Russell, Dr Maxine Room and Jo Fletcher-Saxon

Understanding unconscious aspects of our knowledge to enhance learning



Useful interventions to help you prepare for 2021

Helping learners to absorb and recall information





Jane Hickie, managing director, AELP

How Guernsey College of Further Education transformed its approach with just ‘one thing’

How FE providers can help learners cope with pandemic pressures and employment concerns




InTuition is published on behalf of the Society for Education and Training Redactive Publishing Ltd +44 (0)20 7880 6200


The vital role of learning in rehabilitating offenders and integrating them back into society



Let our online library and communities lighten the load

While there is still much to be done, 2020 may yet mark a turning point



Verity Sangan’s route into healthcare education

Despite being held entirely online owing to Covid-19, this year’s event was the best attended to date



The latest educational titles reviewed

Trainee teachers can continue their studies and register for QTLS through their university

EDITOR: Nick Martindale

DIRECTOR: Martin Reid



SUBEDITOR: Caroline Taylor PICTURE RESEARCHER: Claire Echavarry PRODUCTION: Jane Easterman +44 (0)20 7880 6248 PRINTED BY Precision Colour Printing, Telford


157-197 Buckingham Palace Road London, SW1W 9SP membership.enquiries@

While every care has been taken in the compilation of this magazine, errors or omissions are not the responsibility of the publishers. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publishers or editorial staff. All rights reserved. Unless specifically stated, goods or services mentioned are not formally endorsed by the Society for Education and Training, which does not guarantee or endorse or accept any liability for any goods and/or services featured in this publication. ISSN: 2050-8980


3 Contents_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 3

25/11/2020 15:15




In with the new The SET Conference is just the latest example of how the further education sector, and society in general, has adapted to the changed circumstances 2020 has thrust upon us fter the trials and tribulations that 2020 has brought, it has been immensely satisfying for all of us at SET to have delivered such a successful conference last month. It was, of course, entirely virtual, but we saw a record 473 people join us on the day, with more catching up after the event. We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback on both the day itself and the content, and, if you did miss it, you can get a flavour of the event on page 24. It goes to show just how well the sector, and society as a whole, has adapted to the challenges posed by Covid-19. That’s not to underestimate just how difficult this year has been, however. FE practitioners from all parts of the sector have found themselves working under circumstances they could never have imagined 12 months ago, and in conditions and restrictions which we now consider the ‘new normal’. But aside from the practicalities of teaching in a pandemic, many practitioners have also found themselves having to cope with higher levels of stress and anxiety among learners, something our cover feature seeks to help with this issue. There is now real hope that vaccines could offer a route out of the measures we have wrestled with this year. In any kind of post-Covid recovery, it is essential to make sure learners of all ages can access the support they need to develop skills that will help them in a difficult economic climate. This is a central message from our interview with AELP’s Jane Hickie, which you can find on page 14. Don’t miss our sector focus, either,


which, in this issue, explores some of the challenges providers to the prison sector have faced as a result of the restrictions, and what needs to happen if education is to help rehabilitate offenders. The big issues in society do not go away during a pandemic, and the topic of equality, diversity and inclusion remains one that the FE sector must continue to get to grips with. Our feature on page 21 provides some guidance on how to do this. You’ll also find bound into this issue a supplement dedicated to practitioner development and research. Such collaborative and teacher-led research is essential if practitioners are to fulfil their potential and help both learners and peers benefit, and the ETF offers a number of practical options to help people in this area. You can also find our usual practitioner-led section, starting on page 30, which features pieces from Dr Neil Peirson, Dr Paul Robbins, Kathryn Langford and Martine Ellis. This is our last issue of the year, and, while Christmas may be a different experience this year, I would like to wish you all an enjoyable break, and hope that we can look forward to a gradual return to something that resembles normality in 2021.


MARTIN REID, director, SET


4 Intro_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 4

25/11/2020 15:16


NEWS he T Level Professional Development (TLPD) Platform is the key to accessing the Education and Training Foundation’s (ETF) high-quality TLPD offer, which supports those delivering T Levels with the teaching skills, subject knowledge and confidence they need for the benefit of their learners. The offer is shaped around the needs of the workforce, alongside relevant regional, employer and curriculum requirements. It has been developed with key sector partners and industry experts. Through TLPD, staff can undergo an individual Training Needs Analysis (TNA), which helps to identify specific gaps and areas for development in their skills and knowledge around T Levels. Completing a TNA will generate a personalised training package, tailored specifically to job roles and levels of experience and knowledge. The analysis highlights priority areas of development and will signpost practitioners to CPD courses based on their answers. The ETF has been supporting the delivery of T Levels since 2019, and was awarded a fouryear contract in February 2020 by the Department for Education to continue to support providers, leaders and practitioners to deliver the new courses.








ETF LAUNCHES T LEVEL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLATFORM FE providers and their workforce can now access tailored training to support high-quality delivery of࣢T࣢Levels

David Russell, chief executive of the ETF, said: “It is vital that professionals delivering T Levels are fully equipped and supported. The ETF’s new T Level Professional Development offer – including the Professional Development Platform – will play a crucial part in that success. “Working with experts and partners from across the FE sector, we have developed support for teachers, leaders, governance professionals and those in support roles alike, by signposting appropriate CPD and empowering individuals to take ownership of their own development.” Further information on the ETF’s TLPD offer and platform can be found at


05-07 News_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 5

25/11/2020 15:17



NEWS IN BRIEF In other news... SUPPORT LINE FOR NEW FE TEACHERS The ETF has launched a support service for practitioners new to the FE sector. The confidential service, titled the New FE Teacher Supportline, will support FE teachers and trainers by providing a place to ask questions or discuss issues that they may not wish to raise in the workplace. The launch of the new service follows the publication by the Department for Education in September 2020 of the College Staff Survey 2019 follow-up research report. That research found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of those who left their main college did so within a year of starting work there. A further 19 per cent had left before completing three years’ service. The New FE Teacher Supportline is open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, and can be accessed by telephone on 0333 103 8401 or email at

UNIVERSITY OF GREENWICH OFFERS NEW PATHWAY The Society for Education and Training (SET) has partnered with the University of Greenwich to offer a new route to achieving Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. Those applying to Greenwich to achieve their initial teaching qualification will now have the option to go on to work towards the QTLS professional status as part of a continuous course of study, rather than having to apply to work towards it separately after completing their qualification. Choosing to do so will give them a discounted rate for QTLS, compared with the fee for those who apply directly to

The New FE Teacher Supportline could boost retention in the sector

SET after having finished their teaching qualification. Candidates choosing this route will also benefit from extra support, with the university offering on-programme assistance to its students during the professional formation process. Find out more at and see pages 28-29 for more information

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS MATERIALS NOW OUT The ETF has made available a new set of materials designed to help teachers, trainers and support workers facilitate discussions with groups of learners about healthy relationships. Titled Sexual Harassment in the Further Education Sector: It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, the free resource aims to inspire learners to build campaigns in their own organisations that will speak to their fellow learners. It is intended for use either with students in person, or virtually on platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. The materials were created in collaboration with partners from across the FE sector, following the publication of a National Union of Students report – Sexual Violence in Further Education – in 2019. The report revealed that 75 per cent of respondents (544 UK-based students in FE) have had an unwanted sexual experience at least once. To access, visit content/etf3270

COLLEGE WELCOMED AS A SET CORPORATE PARTNER Livability Nash College in Bromley and SET have announced an exciting new corporate partnership. The collaboration, which took effect from October 2020, will see staff at Livability Nash offered a valuable range of professional development opportunities, including access to exclusive content, research, webinars, events and discounts. As SET members, teaching staff at the college will enjoy a range of benefits including the opportunity to study for Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) and Advanced Teacher Status (ATS). Further information about SET corporate partnerships can be found at

QTLS REGISTRATION WINDOW OPEN SET is inviting its members to apply for the next cohort to undertake Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. QTLS is a nationally recognised status, which SET members can gain by successfully completing a ‘professional formation’ process, enabling teachers/ trainers to develop and demonstrate skills and knowledge through their practice. More than 24,000 teachers/trainers already hold QTLS, enabling them to develop and demonstrate their skills and knowledge through practice, and helping them to drive up professional standards in the sector. With more organisations


05-07 News_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 6

25/11/2020 17:47


requiring QTLS as part of their job criteria, SET is expecting to see another steady increase in uptake over the next year. The QTLS registration window will close on Thursday 7 January 2021. Find out more and register at

FURTHER MEMBERS FOR PRACTITIONER ADVISORY GROUP Eight new members have been appointed to the Society for Education and Training’s (SET) Practitioner Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG is a group of professionals, working across further education, vocational teaching and training, who meet to share their experiences, and discuss their thoughts and opinions about membership. The group, made up of SET members, reports into the SET management board (SMB) to help shape SET membership strategy. The new members are: Penny Taylor, Stephanie Janka-Spurlock, Penny Petch, Martine Ellis, Jane Chillingworth, Helen Wood, Lora Scott and Verity Sangan. Further information about the PAG can be found at governance/practitioner-advisory-group

BITE-SIZE TRAINING MODULES RELEASED A new range of 14 bite-size training modules has been launched on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform to help teachers and trainers use educational technology (EdTech) to


regula r upda the ET tes fro F on n m ew an CPD c d upda ourses ted and re well as source selecte s as d topic areas. Sign u p at etfoun dation newsle / tters

support their learners, working either wholly or partly at home. The new modules have been funded by the Department for Education to ensure the ETF can continue to respond to the needs of the FE and training sector during the current pandemic. Eight of the new modules are focused on ‘Managing online and blended learning’, while a further six modules deal with creating content, covering ‘Animation and the moving image’ and ‘Media, tools and methods’. Practitioners completing modules can gain digital EdTech badges for different categories of pedagogy, and progress from Exploring to Leading in their practice. Find the training modules at

ETF GUIDE TO PROMOTING POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR The ETF has published its new guide to Understanding and Promoting Positive Behaviour in the FE Sector. The free document considers how FE professionals can cultivate a positive environment for staff and learners, and is packed full of practical advice. This includes the importance of creating a welcoming culture, and how to make effective scripted interventions. It also maps out the 10 best behaviour intervention and de-escalation strategies, and offers tips on creating a positive culture and managing behaviour. The guide was produced by the ETF in partnership with the Department for Education, the Crisis Prevention Institute, Works 4U College and Pivotal Education. To access, visit



Eight The number of T Level qualification pathways that have been put out to tender by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education as part of the fourth – and final – wave

35% The proportion of apprentices who may have learning difficulties, according to a study of 30,000 apprentice learners aged 19 to 60 by Cognassist


The number of unfunded 16- to 18-year-old students in colleges this year after a rise in enrolments as a result of Covid-19, the Association of Colleges claims

100,000 The number of college students without a device allowing appropriate internet access, warns the Association of Colleges

£1.3bn The yearly amount needed for adult education to help tackle unemployment, suggests a report by The Social Market Foundation


05-07 News_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 7

25/11/2020 15:17




Taking stock The disruption of 2020 has given many the chance to step back and reassess their lives. David Russell explores how professional recognition can help provide a much-needed sense of direction for those in the FE sector t this time of year, I would usually write about the year gone by and the one ahead. It’s traditionally a time to pause and take stock, to ask some big questions about what’s really going on, what we value and where we are going. But this year feels so different. As well as being characterised by disruption, uncertainty, pressure and change, something else has felt different about 2020. To me it has seemed that, at the same time as the ‘day job’ getting much more challenging, we have had to think constantly about these bigger themes. When we can’t do what we usually do, we have to ask ourselves what we should be doing, what we want to be doing, and what we value. For me, this has been true at work and home. Having three boys all of school age, we have seen more of each other as a family than since they were tiny. This has been wonderful, but the strain can tell at times; I know many colleagues have also felt this year to be a bittersweet mix of blessing and burden.



The pandemic has meant many people asking themselves if they’re doing what they really want to with their lives. And, as Jenny Jarvis, deputy CEO of the ETF, has said, we are so interconnected as people that, when one person questions their role or life choices, that can have knock-on effects that cause ripples and chain reactions. In times of upheaval, we need to find our strength. I have no special insights into wellbeing or resilience, but, in a work context, I think it’s really important to think about where we draw professional strength from. My take is that there are three main sources: our goals, our colleagues, and our professional identity. Only you can work out what your goals are. Our colleagues matter more than ever to us now, and we have seen a real burgeoning through SET and the ETF of people engaging in professional exchanges, participating in events and attending the annual SET conference. Both of these sources of strength are vibrant and powerful in the FE and training sector. But the weak link can sometimes be our professional identity. Our FE profession is unusual in that it is completely unregulated, and this means there is no common standard set for entry or progression. We have the ETF’s Professional Standards, and they are well used; but they could be even better used in many contexts to give a clear, common set of standards for everyone, working together.

Most strange of all – for a job that is all about education and helping people progress, often through gaining qualifications – the FE sector itself is, on the whole, badly under-accredited. I choose my words very carefully. Our sector is not under-qualified; not at all. And it is most certainly not under-skilled; quite the opposite. But it lacks widespread adoption of objectively verified accreditation to recognise the deep skill, knowledge and professional expertise that drives the sector and characterises the teachers, trainers, tutors, lecturers, coaches, mentors and others who make it so amazing. It is a real Achilles’ heel that so many people hold accreditation that falls well below the standard of excellence at which they are operating. In times of stress and change, formal symbols of recognition become even more important as a source of strength to us: something we can hang on to, draw succour from. This year, we have over 100 people going through Advanced Teacher Status (ATS), the largest cohort so far. But this is still a tiny fraction of the people who could be applying for it successfully. I hope that 2021 is the year when all our experienced teachers and trainers in FE will sit down with their managers and ask for their support in going for ATS and the Chartered Teacher Status it confers. Because when we leave ourselves underaccredited as a sector, we not only lose a source of professional strength but also risk losing out in the battle for prestige and status that attracts public funding. 2020 has been a year when our sector has been selfless like never before, keeping the wheels turning for learners, under considerable pressure. Maybe you should make 2021 the year when you ask for something in return, and look to gain the recognition and professional status you deserve.

DAVID RUSSELL is chief executive of the Education and Training Foundation


8-10 Opinion_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 8

25/11/2020 15:18



Uncomfortable truths Racism and bias remain very real problems in the FE sector. Now is the time for action rather than words to help improve the experience of black staff and students, says Dr Maxine Room et us cut to the chase. Often when reading an opinion piece, we need to wait to the end to get to the punchline. Well, here it is. In my opinion, training and education in equality, diversity and inclusion has not made much, if any, difference to the experience of black staff and students in education, regardless of whether primary, secondary, further, higher, adult education, in prisons or in training providers. The racism it was designed to tackle, eliminate, inform or educate about still exists and continues to affect the career aspirations, hopes and dreams of black staff and students. Until we tackle the roots of bias and everybody takes their own bias inventory, nothing will change. We must all commit to examining our own behaviour, call ourselves out on our biases, make connections with people not like ourselves and look for heterogeneous groups rather than homogeneous ones. We can then avoid boards, leadership and management teams in education that are predominantly white. There is work going on through the newly inaugurated Black FE Leadership Group and its 10-point plan for action, detailed in an open letter to the prime minister and signed by over 200 black leaders, professionals and white allies. One of the key aspects of teaching about racism for me in the early days was that prejudice plus power equals


WE MUST FIND A WAY TOGETHER IN EDUCATION TO STOP COLLUDING AND BEING COMPLICIT IN RACISM discrimination. Discrimination is not the province of racism alone and can be applied to any of the protected characteristics. However, I am particularly interested in race as I have mixed race heritage. My colour comes from a Jamaican father and I cannot change it, unlike having bias. This is something we can all work on, day in, day out. In the 1980s, as a newly qualified lecturer in FE, I travelled in hope. Alongside my teaching, I was encouraged to take on the chair of the equal opportunities committee. I was naïve, both in why I was singled out for this role and what I could achieve in a college with all-white staff and students in the west of England. I ran interesting meetings, set up groups, did research and offered training and development opportunities. Looking back, I was humoured at best and sabotaged at worst. Recently, reflecting on an exhilarating and profoundly satisfying


FE career that, despite the challenges, has afforded unique experiences, from teacher to chief executive, I considered a new term that characterised my career path: ‘the glass cliff ’. Applied to women and minorities, it derives from the phenomenon of promoting them to positions of power during times of crisis, when failure is more likely. Translate this to the work black staff are asked to do today after Ofsted has highlighted the need for ‘anti-racism training’ or parents have complained. They are in the firing line for the difficult work and conversations. This typifies my experience and that of other black colleagues. We are telling our stories, and they are remarkably similar. Casual racism, microaggression, the need to be better than white colleagues, negative images and harassment in the education press, conforming to a white stereotype, leaving your authentic self at home, using an acceptable language code and being hidden in plain sight. How many black people have heard the phrase ‘it’s not you, it’s the others’? Fast-forward to 2020, I am coaching black senior leaders and managers, but the themes and challenges for black staff are the same. We must find a way together in education to stop colluding and being complicit in racist attitudes, behaviours and habits. The Black Lives Matter movement has galvanised opinion and action on the back of horrific events worldwide. Statements in support by educational organisations across our sectors must go beyond words. What action leaders and managers take now will have a farreaching impact for staff and students; they must not let it be an empty vessel. We must all be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

DR MAXINE ROOM CBE is director of MG Consultancy London Ltd and, and an executive coach with the Education and Training Foundation


8-10 Opinion_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 9

25/11/2020 15:19




Murky picture The post-19 education landscape is complex and unequal. What’s needed is a fresh approach, built around the concept of lifelong learning, urges Jo Fletcher-Saxon ver played the game in which you are an interstellar visitor and your students need to guide you through something – a concept, knowledge or skill you have been teaching them? Shall we try it now? The topic is post-19 education. Let’s imagine how this may play out.


Student: Adult education is for people aged 19-plus. Alien: OK, so if I am 20 and studying for a degree in spacecraft studies, I am in adult education? Student: No. That’s an undergraduate or, if 25-plus, a ‘mature student’. Alien: How strange. I notice you offer a degree in spacecraft studies here at college; is it the same as the degree at the university? Student: Yes. It is even awarded by that same university, but it is £4,000 cheaper. We don’t know why. Anyway, you wanted to know about adult education? Alien: I do. Can I study anything I like? Student: It all depends on the level you want to study, what you’ve achieved before,


your age, nationality, and even the college’s loan capacity. To be honest, it’s confusing. Alien: Capacity? I definitely need help learning English. ESOL course? Student: You may prefer a functional English course, as that’s free. Alien: I need to get a job. An apprenticeship perhaps? Student: Yes, that’s possible. How old are you again? Alien: I am 19,085 years old. Does it matter? What’s the difference between adult education, community education, apprenticeships, training and higher education? And all the different places that offer it? It’s all education, right? Student: Erm, well, it is all education, yes. But it all gets treated a bit differently. The Government funds different parts in different ways. Alien: Treated differently? Isn’t all education equally valued? Student: Erm, well, if you are studying for an engineering degree, yes, lots of value. If you are brushing up on maths at your local community centre, it’s perceived a little differently. Can we interest you in a new essential digital skills qualification? Enough! The students did a valiant job trying to help our visitor navigate the post-19 education landscape, showing how it is beset by inequity and complexity. There are many champions of adult education. The Augar Review left us with recommendations; Holex speaks for adult education; and the Workers’ Educational Association and local authorities provide study opportunities and family learning. The Further Education Trust for Learning is conducting ‘Listening Post’ discussions;

the Centenary Commission on Adult Education is moving to research circles; while the Transforming Lives research project shares stories about FE’s impact. Colleges and community education settings offer myriad study options; youth services and the third sector provide valuable training; some universities still have lifelong learning departments; and Sir Ian Diamond’s Independent Commission on the College of the Future sets out recommendations for all ages. As David Russell, chief executive of the ETF, noted in issue 41 of inTuition “the most powerful mechanism for transformation is always collaboration”. But, as a practitioner on the ground, I see silos and divisions among all these voices for post-19 education. It’s noisy! How immensely powerful would a partnership of all these forces for good be? Working together to demand post-19 education that is equally valued and fairly funded in all its forms. An education landscape offering unfettered opportunities for over-19 education that will support not only the skills agenda but also social justice and empowerment to tackle the big issues facing communities. I was heartened to read Sir Ian’s words, that “lifelong learning is at the heart of everything we need”, and a statutory entitlement to lifelong learning would be transformational. But then I read a report by the Learning and Work Institute, noting that adults who would have benefited most from learning in lockdown were least likely to participate. I’d like to see the full ecology of post-19 education writ large for all to see. We cannot navigate what we cannot see. Let’s not allow for divide and conquer. Let’s work together so that the recommendations from so many commissions and bodies can now become reality. JO FLETCHER-SAXON is

assistant principal, higher and adult education, and practitioner research lead at Ashton Sixth Form College. Along with Mel Lenehan and Lou Mycroft, she is working on a campaign for making sustained changes to adult community education. You can get involved by following the hashtag #AdultConversations


8-10 Opinion_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 10

25/11/2020 15:19




;!8; @3<8 9'!8$, (38 @3<8 2'?; 36638;<2-;@ >-;,-2 '&<$!ধ32 ,'8' 2 !993$-!ধ32 >-;,

INT.DEC20.011.indd 11

20/11/2020 15:10





The past year has been tough. But now is a good chance to ensure you’re ready to face the challenges that lie in wait, and start 2021 in the right way, says Sid Madge

or most of us, 2020 has been tough. Covid-19 has caused havoc at home and at work. Learning environments, from schools to universities and further education providers, have been thrown into chaos. But change also brings opportunity. An opportunity to re-imagine a better, more flexible journey for learners, teachers and institutions that adds value for all. According to a YouGov poll, only 8 per cent of Britons want to go back to life as it was before the pandemic. So, let’s create something better for everyone instead of some watered-down ‘new normal’. I’m a great believer in tiny interventions. These suggestions are from my Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us shift our mindset. It need only take a minute to make a change and make sure you’re in a position to get the very best out of yourself and your learners in 2021.




Life is uncertain – especially just now. It’s easy to assume that we would be more productive if we knew exactly what the plan was and then simply executed that, but Harvard research has found this is not the case. People who are willing to accept uncertainty are significantly more creative. However, too much uncertainty can be debilitating, so maintaining

some regular routines liberates our mind to come up with genuinely creative solutions. Take a few minutes to consider your current routines. If you don’t have any, create a couple. Go for a socially distanced walk with friends every morning or do 10 minutes of yoga. It may feel counterintuitive, but routine can help us to embrace uncertainty and unlock greater creativity and productivity.


12-13 Advice_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 12

25/11/2020 15:20




GET UP AND MOVE Dr Levine from the Mayo Clinic has said that “sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.” When so many of us are working from home or in endless Zoom meetings, it’s worth remembering that getting out of that chair can be helpful. Take a minute to set the timer on your phone. If you are like me, your phone is never very far away. Set your watch to beep every hour. When it does, get up from your desk and go for a short walk, stretch or run up and down the stairs. Don’t forget to move.

Leonardo da Vinci was a polymath. In other words, he knew a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. He achieved this by deliberately seeking out people who would know stuff he wanted to know and ask them about those topics. Da Vinci’s notebooks were full of topics he wanted to investigate, such as “ask Benedetto Protinari by what means they walk on ice in Flanders”. He was also insatiably curious, with


reminders to himself to find out about a goose’s foot and woodpeckers’ tongues! Da Vinci knew that the fastest way to learn anything was to ask someone who already knew. Take a minute to consider something that you would like to know more about or need to better understand for work. Who do you know inside or outside work who might know more about that subject than you do? Approach them and ask them out for a coffee and a curiosity conversation.


SID MADGE is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) and author of the Meee in a Minute series of books

In a frantic effort to maximise our time, we tend to choose ‘useful’ activities over ‘enjoyable’ ones. Of course, in our daily lives, we can’t always focus on the things that we find enjoyable. Sometimes we just have to get stuff done. And that’s where realistic optimism comes in – viewing the world ‘as it is’, while simultaneously working toward our desired outcome. Realistic optimism helps us keep our sights on the target, even when things go awry. It allows us to accept that we will not always be successful in what we attempt, but, rather than focus on the shortcoming or shortfall, to appreciate how far we have come, find the positive aspects of our performance and use that to reduce self-doubt and maintain motivation to try again. What worked? What didn’t? What can you improve on? Practise realistic optimism and push forward.


12-13 Advice_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 13

25/11/2020 15:20




Make an impact Jane Hickie has always found herself drawn towards helping others and local communities. It’s been good preparation for the challenges she faces in her new role at AELP BY NICK MARTINDALE he midst of a global pandemic may not be the ideal point at which to take over as managing director of an organisation, but that was what Jane Hickie found herself doing at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) after the departure of former chief executive Mark Dawe over the summer. Having been with the organisation since 2017 as chief operating officer, Hickie was well placed to step into the post. “Mine wasn’t a typical chief operating officer role anyway, because I would expect that to be office-based and very focused on the operations,” she says. “Mine was 50 per cent operations


and 50 per cent external, and that’s the kind of role that suits me best. I’m not the type of person to sit at a desk; I like the engagement, partnership-building and building relationships with people. That was partly what drew me to the job in the first place.”

Covid-19, though, meant there were a number of initial priorities. “The key focus for me was to continue to provide a service to our members, and to continue in the same way as before the pandemic,” she says. “We had to shift everything online very quickly, and I’ve been amazed at how quickly we have adjusted to that.” She is particularly proud that the organisation has been able to retain all its staff, and even believes moving online has had some benefits. “It’s meant we have worked much more closely as a team, because we had to,” she says. It also hosted a business recovery conference online, which Hickie says worked well, although she’s hopeful that the national conference next June can be a more traditional event.


DOG OR CAT Big dog




The Duchess and Fleabag


14-15 Interview - Jane Hickie_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 14

25/11/2020 15:20


The second priority was more external. “We are the voice of the provider, and, for me, that also means the voice of the young person. If our members who are delivering apprenticeships are not able to do that, the younger person will also suffer, because they won’t be able to continue with their training,” she says. “During this time, we need to be investing in skills, so it’s a pretty high priority for us to make sure we’re looking out for that.”

Raising issues

a high percentage of apprenticeships, and we need engagement from them,” says Hickie. “If you’re trying to cover the whole of the apprenticeship system, then you need to have SMEs in there as well. That’s a big area for improvement.” Greater clarity is also needed around adult education. “We have the adult education budget, the National Skills Fund, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the National Retraining Scheme and Advanced Learner Loans, but that potentially can cause quite a lot of confusion,” she says. “We want to pull those budgets together and integrate them into one pot to simplify the process for learners and employers.” She’s also keen to ensure that new initiatives developed to help address the pandemic are delivered within existing measures rather than adding yet more schemes to the mix.

One immediate battle is functional skills assessments. “We have thousands of apprentices due or overdue to sit their assessments, but they can’t,” she says. “We think about 75 per cent of apprentices and adult learners are going to be affected by the decision to end centre-assessed grades on 1 August. We’re looking at potentially 45,000 apprentices and 5,000 adult education learners being unable to progress. We don’t want to see that number of people coming into the market with no qualifications and potentially being unemployed.” In the longer term, apprentices, traineeships and adult education in general will play a pivotal role in Common threads the UK’s post-Covid landscape, she Hickie admits she has never planned her believes. “We have had an investment of career out, but there are some common £111 million into traineeships through themes in the roles she has had that the Plan for Jobs scheme, which was led up to her current position. “I’ve fantastic, and really welcomed by our always been drawn to things that offer members. Traineeships are a perfect opportunities,” she says. “If you look fit for lots of young people,” she says. at my career, it’s about young people “But we’re asking that the Government and community. That’s what gets me commits to a long-term up in the morning.” sustainable funding After graduating programme.” AELP also from University College believes wages of young Cork in Ireland with a apprentices need to be psychology degree, her subsidised by at least early career saw her The number of learners who 50 per cent to persuade set up a youth training could be affected by employers to engage. scheme in London, the decision to end It is also calling for which led to a role with centre-assessed grades a separate budget – in Southwark Council the region of £1.5 billion designed to help young – to enable more people – particularly small firms, which minority ethnic currently cannot access groups – in Peckham the apprenticeship gain jobs in the City The amount invested in levy, to take on of London. She would traineeships under the apprentices. “SMEs have go on to work for West Government’s Plan for Jobs traditionally provided London Leadership,


seeking to get business leaders more involved in their local communities, and as head of regeneration for Genesis Housing Association. But it was setting up a Groundwork Trust in Bristol, which would eventually cover the whole of the South West, that gave her exposure to apprenticeships. “We got quite involved in the Future Jobs Fund at Groundwork, and I ran one of its programmes in Bristol,” she says. “I was working directly with apprentices, so it gave me quite an insight into the kind of challenges that are faced by providers. “A lot of our members will be dealing with young people who are in the harder-to-reach category, and, when I was running that programme, I had a co-ordinator who would have to take his van around every morning and pick them up. That’s where it starts; motivating the apprentices to engage with the programme.” Despite the current challenges, Hickie remains passionate about working in a sector where she has the ability to help shape someone’s future. “I would say this is the best job I’ve had,” she says. “But what makes me most proud is when I can see an actual change that makes a real difference to someone’s life. Our Future Jobs programme at Groundwork was really successful, and 70 per cent of the team went on to secure a job with the organisation that was training them. I was quite pleased with that, because it was a very challenging group of young people.” For now, she’s keen to make her mark on both AELP and the further education landscape. “I’d like to have the Government and ministers recognise the importance of the work we do,” she says. “Beyond that, I’m only a few weeks into the job, so I’m still trying to get my head around it. Ask me again in six months!”




NICK MARTINDALE is editor of inTuition


14-15 Interview - Jane Hickie_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 15

25/11/2020 15:21



Learners across the FE sector are likely to feel under more pressure as a result of the pandemic and concerns over the labour market. Providers can play an important role in helping them cope, as Penelope Rance explains



ears over Covid-19 and its impact on public health, society and the economy have affected us all. For many learners in further education (FE), whatever their age, and whether in a college or another provider, the upheaval and uncertainty experienced since March has been severe, and has had a significant impact on mental health. Solitude, the challenges of online learning, and the pressure of staying on track with studies have all taken a toll, while older learners may have concerns about their prospects in a difficult economic climate. “Potentially isolated from family, partaking in lectures and classes online, and with cases of Covid-19 on the rise, it is entirely understandable that learners are experiencing mental ill-health at this time,” says Simon Blake, chief executive of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England. With national lockdowns and continuing restrictions on in-house study, FE providers need to be alert to the issues, and ready to support learners who are struggling.


“FE professionals can reassure people that it’s understandable to feel worried about the pandemic,” says Emily Graham, senior policy and campaigns officer at mental health charity Mind. “It can help to open up that conversation, and let learners know they can speak to you. As well as modelling open conversations, teachers and staff can try to provide consistency to help things feel more ‘normal’.”

It’s good to talk Reassurance that there is someone there to help will go a long way to easing learners’ anxiety. Active listening is a good starting point, says Blake. “If a learner is opening up to you, a simple nod or reassuring sound can be enough to let them know that you are listening and continue the conversation,” he adds. “Accept them as they are. Respect their feelings, experiences and values. Do not judge or criticise.” In the classroom, educators can offer structure to reduce uncertainty. “Anxiety for learners often means catastrophising or worrying about events that have not

occurred yet,” says Sam Mayhew, head of faculty for image and inclusive practice at Weston College. “To alleviate that, make choices simple, or assist in making choices through open conversation, collaboratively arriving at decisions. “For the anxious learner, information should be cognitively chunked into manageable segments, allowing ease of processing,” she adds. Teachers should work with learners to prioritise what they can do right now, what should be done soon, and what is not immediately important. Mayhew also recommends journals for planning to aid predictability. Teaching strong mental health techniques alongside the curriculum will also help learners. “FE professionals can support their learners through helping them manage their thoughts and emotions well,” says James Woodworth, a Thrive Programme coach. “This includes learning how to build mental strength, optimism, positivity and resilience. A good psychological education inoculates learners against excessive stress, anxiety and depression.”

Self-help Staff can also obliquely guide learners to protect their own mental wellbeing, prompting them to get creative, be active, connect with others, and get enough sleep, says Graham. “Not all people feel comfortable speaking to a teacher or opening up in their place of learning, and that’s OK,” she adds. “It can also help to engage parents and families, so people get support at home.” Embedding mental health into a structured programme can make learners feel more comfortable about reflecting and talking about their feelings. “A regular wellbeing checkin programme with learners should


16-18 Mental Health_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 16

25/11/2020 15:22



be established,” says Blake. “Consider adapting policies on mitigating circumstances and work submission in line with extra pressures learners may be experiencing. Think about making wellbeing services work in a remote or socially distanced way, and review the mental health knowledge of staff.” Covid-19 has accelerated the work of FE providers to support mental wellbeing. “Most colleges, when lockdown hit, amended their mental health services by putting them online,” says Richard Caulfield, national lead on mental health for the Association of Colleges (AOC). “For the new academic year, colleges worked on transition support, such as webinar introduction events to ensure learners met key staff. They’ve held mental wellbeing sessions around sleep, study skills, positive mindset and staying connected, targeting the most at-risk people.” Caulfield cites one college with a half in-house, half remote timetable, which is offering 100 per cent in-house learning for vulnerable learners. Another is supporting people with ADHD through virtual parentcarer skill-building activities, staff inset days, and a six-week virtual therapy and coaching project for learners. The ETF and Education Support (a charity dedicated to the wellbeing of educators) have identified useful

resources for FE providers on the Mental Health at Work portal. Education Support also offers a confidential helpline with access to counsellors free of charge to all educators. The AOC provides a mental health toolkit, based on the Public Health England model. More than 150 colleges have also signed up to its Mental Health Charter, which lays out 11 commitments to the mental wellbeing of staff and learners. Caulfield reports that, of the AOC’s Beacon Awards for excellence, the mental health category receives the most applications.

Support strategy Hopwood Hall in Rochdale signed up to the charter in 2019, instituting a mental health strategy. The college delivers tutorials and in-curriculum teaching on mental health and wellbeing themes; more than 400 staff have received mental health and trauma awareness training; and MHFA training is available in-house. Learners are offered mental wellbeing support through tutors, college counsellors and online, and are signposted to external resources. Somerset-based Weston College is another signatory of the AOC charter, investing in specialist mental health practitioners and training staff in supporting learners with mental health difficulties. The approach empowers learners to develop coping strategies within the classroom. The college’s work has led to an AOC Beacon Award, as well as the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. Weston College is also one of the ETF’s three national Centres for Excellence in SEND. Even if there are high levels of inhouse support, FE professionals need to recognise when learners require




WARNING SIGNS Withdrawal, being excessively happy or sad, being tired or lethargic, tearfulness, physiological responses, such as heart palpitations or panic attacks Outward signs, including lack of care over personal appearance, frequent minor illnesses, sudden weight loss or gain, irritability, withdrawing from social interaction Out-of-character behaviour, such as usually punctual learners arriving late and missing deadlines, or regular contributors to discussions appearing reluctant to join in Absenteeism, and also presenteeism – when learners attend but operate below their potential Displacement activities, such as excessive alcohol or drug use, gambling, anti-social or inappropriate behaviour, spending hours on social media Extreme behaviours, including overeating, food restriction, overexercising or self-harming


16-18 Mental Health_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 17

25/11/2020 15:22



external help. Teachers are not expected to be counsellors or therapists. The rule of thumb, says Mayhew, is that when anxiety or mental ill-health is having a significant impact on a learner’s life, it’s time to refer them to external services. “It is important to differentiate between mental health and mental illness,” she says. “There will be times when learners have low levels of mental health and wellbeing, but these will pass with an increase in wellbeing support. When we cross over into mental illness, it usually requires external help.”

Additional help “FE providers need a wholeorganisation approach to mental health, so teachers and staff feel well supported,” says Graham. Mayhew adds that they should ensure teachers are well equipped to meet learners’ needs. “Consider mental health working groups for staff to gain peer support and share best practice,” she suggests. Providers can work with local services, charities and voluntary organisations to arrange staff training and support. MHFA England offers courses specifically for those working with young people. When learners need to be directed to external mental health support services, there are a range of options to signpost, from apps and online communities to charities offering counselling. “The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is one initiative that can be accessed,” says Woodworth. “Psychological training schemes, including the Thrive Programme, also exist for those looking for a mentoring approach to mental health issues.”


A number of charities offer resources, including YoungMinds and Student Minds. “If you feel someone is in need of more urgent support, they should be encouraged to book an appointment with a GP, or speak to the Samaritans, who are available 24/7,” advises Blake. In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, FE providers can help learners gain a sense of control over their mental wellbeing. “Learners are concerned about what the future holds for them,” points out Woodworth. “But the more control they believe they have over their experience of what’s happening around them, the more mentally healthy they will be.”



The Self Esteem Team: support for young people by young people with ‘lived experience’, The Thrive Programme, Togetherall: an anonymous, virtual support community, Samaritans: 24-hour help, NHS Every Mind Matters: advice on looking after mental health, Catch It: NHS app for managing anxiety and depression, Online cognitive behavioural therapy, cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/ cbt-sessions Kooth: mental wellbeing community, The Stress Container: an exercise from the BBC, safety/documents/health/healthstress-container-exercise.pdf Student Minds, YoungMinds,


The ETF mental health and emotional wellbeing page, Mental Health at Work portal, supporting-staff-wellbeing-infurther-education AOC Mental Health Resource Pack, mental-health-and-wellbeing/ mental-health-and-wellbeingresource-pack MindEd: free, online training for all educational staff, Education Support, MHFA England: HandsUp4HealthyMinds, mhfaengland. org/mhfa-centre/campaigns/worldmental-health-day-2018 Anna Freud: Healthy Schools Toolkit, Charlie Waller Memorial Trust: mental health training, learning. ASIST: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, uk/training-courses/asist-appliedsuicide-interventions-skills-training


16-18 Mental Health_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 18

25/11/2020 15:22



BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS Education is a vital part of how prison attempts to rehabilitate offenders and integrate them back into society. But the sector faces challenges of its own, as David Adams explores ducation should be at the heart of the prison system,” wrote Dame Sally Coates in the foreword to her 2016 government-commissioned review of education in prisons in England. “If education is the engine of social mobility, it is also the engine of prisoner rehabilitation.” Prison service staff, education service providers and a range of charities and social enterprises are all involved in providing education and vocational training to the approximate 79,000 people (most of whom are male) in prison in England and Wales, along with about 7,500 in Scotland and 1,500 in Northern Ireland. “Prison education can be life-changing,” says Teresa Carroll, national head for inclusion at the Education and Training Foundation (ETF). “Sometimes, it’s the first time someone has engaged in education.”



It may also provide an opportunity to identify a reason why an individual did not do well at school: some prisoners may have learning differences that hadn’t previously been recognised, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or being on the autistic spectrum. Poor mental health may also have gone unaddressed.

and Weston College. These were also the core education deliverers prior to April 2019, through Offenders’ Learning and Skills Service contracts. Prison governors can also commission additional learning services via a dynamic purchasing system, overseen by the Ministry of Justice. Different systems, though broadly similar in aim, are used in Scotland Learning curve and Northern Ireland, Prison education has where prison education is evolved steadily during The approximate number of delivered in partnership the past 30 years, as prisoners in the UK today with Fife College and has the system through Belfast Met respectively. which education services Novus provides education services are procured. The current regime, the for male, female and youth prisoners Prison Education Framework (PEF), came in more than 40 prisons in northern into force in April 2019. Delivery of core England, the Midlands, London and educational services is now contracted to Wales. In recent years, an increased focus four main providers in England and Wales: on employability skills has led it to Milton Keynes College, Novus, PeoplePlus



19-20 Feat - Prisons_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 19

25/11/2020 15:36


shape services to match education and training to employers’ needs, says chief operating officer Barbara McDonough. Partnerships with employers also enable prisoners in lower category prisons to work outside prison on day release: McDonough tells of a prisoner who got a job at Greene King, after working for the company during his sentence. He has since been promoted to a managerial position. Many third sector organisations help deliver prison education, including the Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET), which funds distance learning courses in every prison in England and Wales; Bounce Back, which provides construction industry training; and The Clink, which runs four public restaurants and a café, all staffed entirely by prisoners, at prisons in London, north-west England and Cardiff. An increased focus on employability has highlighted the value of digital and entrepreneurial training. Giuditta Meneghetti has taught enterprise classes at HMP Belmarsh since 2019, before which she was a department head at an FE college. She believes enterprise training is popular in part because it allows prisoners to be creative. “They come up with some fabulous ideas,” she says. “If you can get the prisoners on-side and show that you really care about their education, they will buy into it.” Carroll says more prisoners should be told about ex-offenders who have gone on to run successful businesses. In 2019, the ETF produced a six-minute video featuring three ex-offenders who are now CEOs (see Carroll would like this to be shown to prisoners as part of their induction. “There is a need for people who have credibility with prisoners and can encourage them to become learners.”

Lockdown lessons The Covid-19 lockdown in March effectively shut down face-to-face education in most prisons for much of 2020. A partial loosening of restrictions in some prisons towards the end of the summer was then paused or reversed as the second wave of the pandemic gripped the UK in September. Education providers, third sector organisations and prison staff have tried to get educational materials to prisoners

Pressure is growing to allow greater use of digital technologies within UK prisons


WATCH AND LEARN Wayout TV, launched with the backing of PEF provider PeoplePlus in 2014, turns in-cell TV services into a source of education. Broadcast content includes academic programming; a physical education slot; and local news. Founder Jezz Wright, who is head of digital learning and strategy at PeoplePlus, says the service can act as an easier route towards educational materials for prisoners who might not feel comfortable in a classroom environment. It is now available in more than 50 prisons. The service also now has a sister channel, Way2Learn, which provides educational programming created by the Wayout TV team. “It provides bite-sized courses of study to complete in the cell,” says Wright. “You get paper-based workbooks that you can complete to get accreditation.” Courses include Mind Your Own Business, which features case studies of prisoners who have set up their own business; a creative design course that could help prisoners design logos and promotional materials; and principles of journalism and creative writing courses. A pre-MBA course and a beginner’s guide to working in the music industry will be launched in the near future.

without using digital technology, which is severely restricted within prisons. But Rod Clark, outgoing CEO at the Prisoners’ Education Trust, hopes the impact of this crisis will make the prison services and policymakers reconsider the possibility of limited, controlled use of digital technologies in prisons as a means of delivering blended learning, in line with one of the Coates review recommendations. In July 2020, the Prisoner Learning Alliance, a network of organisations working in the sector, published The Digital Divide, showcasing initiatives of this kind outside the UK. They included Belgian, Finnish and German projects that allowed prisoners to access pre-approved websites or closed e-learning networks. Some prisoners in England and Wales have limited access to a secure educational network, the Virtual Campus, which can be used under supervision. Despite the current difficulties, Clark feels optimistic. “We need to get beyond Covid-19, to get a bit more investment and co-ordination; and then I think the future could be very positive,” he says. “It needs to be,” he adds, “given that prisoners will be emerging into a labour market that will be even more difficult than before. Giving them the opportunity to acquire skills and develop is one of the positive things that they can take from a period in custody.” Working in this part of the sector can also be hugely rewarding. “It’s a great job,” says Meneghetti. “I had one prisoner who was released and came to get his certificate ‘to show my wife I can read and write now, because she doesn’t believe me’. That’s fantastic!” DAVID ADAMS is a freelance journalist




19-20 Feat - Prisons_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 20

26/11/2020 13:11


quality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) lie at the heart of the work of successful and effective FE settings. Reaching out to the whole community, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, disability, social background or economic circumstance, and ensuring that each and every learner and staff member not only feels a part of the setting but is a valued member, is crucial. Achieving this, however, can be challenging, and, while there are some failsafe strategies, the unique nature of each setting


means that local yet joined-up approaches are the key to success. Yvonne Kelly is principal and CEO of Barking and Dagenham College (BDC). For Kelly and the college, ensuring EDI is embedded in all they do is a priority. “Diversity is everywhere,” she says. “Fairness and respect for all are in the fabric of our organisation and part of our conscience that brings close collaboration and decision-making.” Having a diverse community means the college is keenly aware of the need to tackle any issues around EDI. “Hidden, underlying views and unconscious bias can have a significant



impact on achieving our priorities and ambitions,” she says. “We are constantly challenging ourselves, promoting visible leadership from the top to ensure that diversity is seen as a key objective for the college and more than lip service. Our diverse leadership team has been achieved through our talent pools and recruitment practices. For our students and staff, seeing someone like you makes such a difference to understanding identity, behaviour and needs.”

Visible leadership Encouraging visible leadership is also a goal at the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), says Shaun Hindle, interim national head of leadership and governance. “We have been running a programme called Diversity in Leadership, which addresses the cultural change needed to improve diversity, equality and

DISCRIMINATION Whether subconscious or otherwise, there is much that can be improved in the further education sector’s quest to improve equality, diversity and inclusion. But there is also hope that 2020 may yet mark a turning point. Elizabeth Holmes reports


21-23 Feat - EDI_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 21

25/11/2020 15:29



WE NEED TO BE CRITICAL OF OUR CURRICULUM CONTENT AND EMBED EQUALITY ISSUES ACROSS THE CURRICULUM MORE EFFECTIVELY inclusion,” he says. “We also run a programme called Women Up, which raises the profile of women in leadership. Participants are positive about the impact, and the way they are helped to overcome challenges and link with others.” This is all familiar to Teresa Carroll, who leads on the ETF’s offer on offender learning, SEND and mental health. “Role models are important in FE,” she says. “If you can see it, you can be it. Learners need to see themselves on the workforce. We need to ask whether we can deliver in a different way. Can we use lived experience? Peer mentors leading sessions can be very effective. It helps young people to think about leadership as an activity rather than a status.” EDI needs to be led by a diverse workforce right through to senior leadership. Yet the higher up the tree you go, the less diverse it gets. “At the top of FE, it tends to be white, middle-class and middleaged, and we need to up our game,” adds Carroll. “There is so much we can learn from non-traditional leaders and their lived experience. We need to stop imposing models. ” While it is wise to monitor EDI on an ongoing basis, there are occasions when our shortfalls are brought into focus by world events. Dr Nafisah Graham-Brown, head


SEEKING RACIAL JUSTICE Prisons have a hugely problematic issue around racial justice. The prison population has disproportionate representation from black and ethnic minority groups. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of the prison population, 22,619 people, are from a minority ethnic group. This is to do with the operation of the criminal justice system as a whole, as the Lammy review demonstrates. There is automatically an issue over whether race is being addressed fairly, so we must be concerned at how that plays out in prison education. At the Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET), we need to do what we can as a small part of a bigger picture. We have revised our application process to make it fairer for all applicants and to give better data on diversity, but we need to maintain those statistics and keep reviewing them. We also need to think about our recruitment process to ensure that it is inclusive. Our trustee body has people from greater diversity of ethnic backgrounds and some with prison experience too. We are keen to work with other players in the sector –

for example, Maslaha, which works with Muslim prisoners – so that we provide education that is of interest to everyone. A high proportion of prisoners have been permanently excluded from school, and those statistics are disproportionate too. Inequalities extend back into schooling. Finding yourself excluded from school can lead to exclusion from society. The real challenge is to make sure you deliver prison education in a way that is fair. That is the starting point. Second, education in the prison sector seems like a Cinderella service compared with other parts of the education sector. There is an FE offer in all prisons, but prisons on the whole do not come out well in Ofsted inspections. Generally speaking, mainstream prison education needs to focus on bringing people up to Level 1 and 2 and basic ICT. There is often higher education attainment among BAME prisoners in the system, so we need to cater for their needs with an education offer that can suit all.

ROD CLARK , outgoing CEO of

the Prisoners’ Education Trust

Feature continues after the Practitioner Research & Development supplement


21-23 Feat - EDI_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 22

25/11/2020 16:48



enable them to gain sustainable jobs at all levels of society.”

BOOSTING EDI IN FE SETTINGS How visible is diversity in your leadership? Explore ways of embedding a commitment to EDI in recruitment and retention policies Hold a quiz on the cultures represented in your setting to find out how much learners (and staff) know about the diversity in your community Explore a wider range of assessment methods as a tool for enhancing equality of opportunity

of life skills and community at ELATT, was inspired to respond to the need to teach anti-racism after the murder of George Floyd in the USA. “People were reawakened to racial justice,” she says. “It became something global that everyone had to deal with.”


Making improvements She set about compiling a list of resources for teaching about anti-racism and Black Lives Matter (BLM). “I recognised that many teachers wanted to teach their FE students about what was happening but there weren’t resources readily available to do so,” she says. “The time it takes to create materials and resources can make it difficult for teachers to bring topical and controversial issues into the classroom.” Graham-Brown notes that racism manifests in our systems in the UK. It may be subtle and unseen, so the first task of leaders is to take time to assess the challenges that learners from diverse backgrounds may face. “We need to be critical of our curriculum content and embed equality issues across the curriculum more effectively,” she says. “Sometimes, the reason why some topics are in the curriculum and others not is not questioned.”


Long-term change

Consider running a themed week or day, exploring elements of diversity with your community Do an audit of the extent to which the diversity within your setting features in a visible way in the curriculum and physically in your buildings Widen the diversity of the images used in teaching and learning in your setting

For Kelly at BDC, the BLM movement has brought racism and inequalities to everyone’s attention. “It is potentially a renaissance period, which we need to capitalise on to bring about real, meaningful and long-term change that benefits ‘those who are left behind’ within our society,” she says. Another potential renaissance moment has been sparked by the pandemic. “It has revealed social and economic disadvantage,” contends Carroll. “This is not just about skills but also about access to technology. FE providers all rallied to provide the best they could, but it is hard to ensure that everyone kept learning. Historically, education has often been traditional, whether through the curriculum or the timings of the 9-3 day and the location of the learning. Perhaps Covid-19 will lead to different ways of working that will better support EDI?” Many believe that the key to long-term change is diversifying the curriculum. “It needs to not only reflect our communities but also understand the part played by different cultures,” Kelly says. “Deliberate adaptations are needed to take account of differential aspirations and needs. The skills agenda is a high priority, but what does this mean in terms of equality? The FE white paper has the potential for greater parity, inclusivity and fairness, where disadvantaged learners acquire the knowledge, skills and behaviours that will

We may also need to reinvent the wheel on some things. As GrahamBrown suggests, in employability skills, we may ask why the interview process is the way it is and who it excludes. “Teachers need to be enabled to collaborate on EDI to achieve equity,” she adds. “It has become more urgent to deal with this, and we need a joined-up strategy. Organisations like the ETF have already paved the way with the Professional Standards.” Many feel that EDI is much more embedded in the work of FE settings now. But it is still important to give time to equality issues. As Hindle explains, “We have to take time to step away from operational demands and focus on strategic direction. Regardless of what is going on – for example, the pressures of Covid-19 – the governing body still needs space to focus on the future. Providers don’t want to go back to what they had before. We can build back better and be more inclusive to our communities.” These sentiments are shared by Carroll. “We can improve equality, diversity and inclusion by getting back to people’s humanity,” she says. “Everyone has something to offer. We need to hear stories of non-traditional learners and skilled refugees, and see positive images that demonstrate that everyone has talent. Narratives of hate ride on fear, and anger is fear’s bodyguard. We can take positive images of learning into communities and into people’s everyday lives and improve equality and diversity.”


ELIZABETH HOLMES is a freelance author specialising in the education sector


21-23 Feat - EDI_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 23

25/11/2020 15:35



he SET team was thrilled to welcome 473 attendees to its annual conference, making it the most attended SET conference to date. Although this year’s event came with challenges we could never have foreseen 12 months ago, we are proud to have delivered a virtual space for you to network, learn, and share ideas, insights and good practice. With 160 questions asked throughout the day across our live Q&A sessions, we uncovered the challenges, hot topics and thoughts affecting teachers and trainers


working in the further education (FE) and training sector. A huge thank you goes to our host, Sarah Simons, who did an amazing job and kept us all engaged! We ran four keynote sessions and 16 breakout sessions covering themes on English, maths, SEND, T Levels, educational technology, health and wellbeing, professional development, and learner motivations. Here are some of the highlights…


This year saw the SET conference held entirely online in response to Covid-19, resulting in an event that was the best attended to date and brought key speakers together on a bespoke platform

KEYNOTE SESSIONS How artificial ideas will impact teaching and learning Priya Lakhani, founder and CEO of Century Priya explored what artificial intelligence (AI) is and how it is creating meaningful change for learners and practitioners in further education.

The story so far, the story as yet untold Sam Jones, advanced practitioner at Bedford College, and Jo Fletcher-Saxon, assistant principal, practitioner research lead, at Ashton Sixth Form College The dynamic duo spoke about the FE research landscape, what’s been happening, new opportunities, and what’s coming in 2021.

The social consciousness of the FE sector Palvinder Singh (right), group deputy principal, Kidderminster College A look at social and race disparity, politics and the media landscape combined with the post-16 context over this decade and into the future.

Teaching skills: Attainment today, flexibility tomorrow Geoff Petty, author and teacher How teachers can help learners to learn independently by being able to read and understand difficult text and plan and write in a clear and well structured way.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS Autism and co-production Joe Fautley and Rosalind Hardy Our speakers described their personal experiences as young adults on the autistic spectrum. Here are their top tips for working with learners with SEND: Remember that anxiety and sensory processing issues can be overwhelming Give time for the young person to process information (especially verbal)


24-26 Feat - Conf_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 24

25/11/2020 15:37


Give a clear structure and advance warning of what will happen Avoid making assumptions: a person who is intelligent may still have significant needs. Take time to listen and discuss reasonable adjustments Phobias and sensory needs are serious, please don’t underestimate them Treat us as equals and as individuals; we are not defined by our diagnosis. Autism needs everyone in society to have more understanding. We are not broken, we are unique. Autistic people have many strengths and great potential to succeed with the right support.

Engaging and supporting learners with SEND through remote learning Sam Mayhew, head of faculty, Leila Morne and Nicola Lace, all from Weston College Ensuring learners with SEND remained connected, engaged and supported during lockdown.

Letting mastery bloom in FE maths Emma Bell (above), maths enhancement manager, Grimsby Institute The origins of learning for mastery, and how the approach can be applied for post16 maths learners today and in the future.

Practical lessons from cognitive neuroscience and psychology for resilience, wellbeing and performance outcomes Major Jim Crompton, chair of the SET Management Board and Sgt Adam Brown, British Army Staff Leadership School This session looked at how brain science and psychology can help us predict learner behaviour.

T Levels – Our story so far Wayne Park, head of improving learning, New College Durham New College Durham’s preparations as a pilot provider for the three T Level subjects running from September 2020.

‘How can I be sure?’: Revisiting GCSE English assessment practices Dr Michael Smith, head of learning and teaching innovation, Barking and Dagenham College


Assessment practice in the context of GCSE English in FE settings.

Technology: Enriching a maths session

Keeping a constant focus on quality through changing times

Using technology as a learning episode and to capture learner progress data, plus apps Desmos and Geogebra in action in a maths class.

Dr Barbara Van der Eecken, vice chair of the SET Management Board and director of quality and service standards, Babington College Strategic and operational decisions made in response to the pandemic and how they were communicated to key stakeholders.

Power and Compassion – Practical tips for decolonising the FE curriculum Nafisah Graham-Brown, head of life skills and community, ELATT; Laila El-Metoui, equality, training and education consultant; and Elizabeth Andrews, CEO and founder, Fuse Developments How to create an inclusive curriculum.

Preparing to deliver Essential Digital Skills Qualifications Angela Sanders (below), Sero Consultancy, and Sandra Smith, Adult Education Service Developing skills to teach Essential Digital Skills Qualifications (EDSQ) and using collaboration to support change.

Mental health and wellbeing today and tomorrow: Teaching from the edge – six models to help and explore stress Stuart Rimmer, CEO, East Coast College Current thinking on wellbeing and mental health in teaching, as well as a more detailed discussion on stress as a key factor to address both collectively and individually.

TALKING TECHNICAL TEACHING AND LEARNING Cerian Ayres, national head of technical education at the ETF; Nick Hart, engineering and learning development coach, the Sheffield College; Lynda Broomhead, head of faculty, Mid Devon Campus of PETROC; Stephen Mariadas, CEO, South West Institute of Technology The 2019 and 2020 Technical Teaching Fellows on professional practice and addressing quality improvement in technical STEM education and training.

Mamta Arvind, advanced practitioner for maths, and Dimitrios Georgalis, course leader for maths and English, Leeds City College

How to accelerate your digital learning strategy with the Enhance Management Dashboard Ian Woodland, curriculum lead, Learn Devon; Jane Tomlinson, head of learning, technologies and library services, and Jeanne Gollop, head of learning, teaching and assessment, Petroc College How FE providers have been using the ETF’s free, bite-size training resources to drive their digital learning strategies.

Inclusive diversity to reduce bias – how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable Dr Maxine Room CBE, strategic leader and consultant Understanding bias, its impact and how to work on reducing it in our personal and professional lives.

Leadership – A live case study Yiannis Koursis, principal and CEO, Barnsley College What Barnsley College learnt from the Covid-19 crisis in an FE leadership context.

Teaching English, on and off the screen Claire Collins, literacies and learning designer Teaching English across diverse FE and community learning settings

The SET conference platform has now closed, following a month-long opportunity to catch up on all the sessions. However, as a SET member you still have exclusive access to the slides from the day, available to download on a member-only page at We will also be publishing the videos of our breakout and keynote sessions over the coming months. Sign up to our Special Interest Digests (available via your My SET dashboard) to view them.


24-26 Feat - Conf_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 25

25/11/2020 15:37




MEET OUR LEADERBOARD CHALLENGE WINNERS Congratulations to Shaila Karim, Elaine Battams and Moghees Darr, who came top of the Leaderboard Challenge. Here, we meet our three winners as they explain what they enjoyed most on the day and why they were so happy to bag themselves a free ticket to next year’s event. “I can’t put my finger on just one emotion – shocked, ecstatic, excited! I’m looking forward to learning more about different research; using new knowledge to impact upon my role in a positive way and networking with people from a whole range of interesting backgrounds. I would like to pass my gratitude to the SET team for organising such an excellent conference and giving me the opportunity to attend the next one – I can’t wait!”

SHAILA KARIM, learning coach in the student

services team at Barnet and Southgate College

“I enjoyed all of the workshops, especially the mental health and wellbeing session, as it is so relevant for the here and now. I am really excited that I have won a ticket for next year’s conference. I was at the first-ever SET conference two years ago, and attended last year in Birmingham, so am happy that I can continue to attend such an inspiring and valuable day.”

ELAINE BATTAMS, teaching and learning leader, Barnfield College, Luton

“My favourite part of the SET conference was the speeches. It made me realise that teaching is so much more than just teaching the necessary material. It’s about being a leader and inspiring your students to realise their potential. I am very excited to be attending next year’s conference. I think it will be an excellent opportunity for me to gain new insights and wisdom into how I can be a better teacher and be more of service to students.”

MOGHEES DARR, former accountant undertaking a further education PGCE next year


WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT THE CONFERENCE “I enjoyed the variety of workshops” “It was all really useful, and great to be able to access recordings of missed sessions” “It was great having people share ideas from across the sector” “I really enjoyed the keynote session from Palvinder Singh, but Jo FletcherSaxon and Sam Jones’ session particularly resonated with me”

were b l media cha nnels uzzin post im g with 53,2 00 p 95 retw ressions an d eets o n Twitte Here a r. re ju few tw st a eets:

“I liked it for its variety and taking me to topics I would not usually read about – it broadened my horizons” “I loved seeing the engagement with different sessions – the response and suggestions and questions that came from the audience” “It was all relevant, informative and well presented”

SET CORPORATE PARTNERS SAID... “The conference was excellent! I was impressed. I have been going back in to watch the sessions I missed”


Lambeth College

“I really enjoyed the sessions that I went to and the platform itself was excellent”

“It was FAB – great feedback from my team. Congrats to all involved”



Newcastle College

Guernsey College

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT A huge thank you to the sponsors of the SET Conference 2020, including our gold sponsor, FE Associates (FEA), which provides the only national delivery programme for Level 5 FE and Skills Teacher. Its registered training division, Teaching Matters, has recently launched an innovative and ambitious national training programme for trainee teachers entering the FE sector. Thanks too to our silver sponsor FE Week, bronze sponsor CDS Defence & Security, and event supporters AlphaPlus and Its Learning.


24-26 Feat - Conf_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 26

25/11/2020 15:37

Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship Level 5

For colleagues new to teaching Pathway to QTLS "Learning and Skills Teachers are responsible for planning and delivering learning that is current, relevant and challenging, inspiring learners to engage and achieve their full potential." Levy funded by your employer Blended learning approach including conference days A programme that leads by example Delivered by nationally recognised trainers and coaches High-end pathway to outstanding teaching and learning A rigorous approach to building competence embedded in the programme Built and supported by industry specialists Brings inspiration and innovation to your own teaching, learning and assessment activities Opportunity to network and work with fellow dual professionals across the sector.

Contact Donna Clifford at INT.DEC20.027.indd 27

20/11/2020 15:10



etting an early step up on the career ladder can be a real confidence boost to those entering teaching in the FE sector, and a new initiative from the Society for Education and Training (SET) will make this even easier. SET has partnered with a number of university education departments to offer a new route for students to achieve Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. They will be able to pursue this nationally recognised status as part of their continuing studies – so immediately after their initial teacher training qualification, rather than having to apply to work towards it separately after qualifying. It also means they have access to a discounted rate, with some institutions even covering the fee entirely. “It’s an attractive offer for anyone starting out in the sector,” says Andrew Dowell, head of professional status at SET. “We want to make it part of a natural career progression.” Achieving QTLS shows how an individual has developed their skills and knowledge through their teaching practice, and is highly sought-after by employers. It has the same status in law as Qualified Teacher Status (QTS),


making those who have it eligible to work in schools as well as FE settings. Choosing to pursue QTLS at the start of their teaching career means graduates can enjoy enhanced levels of support from peers and staff they already know. Dowell adds: “You’ve not had that break from learning, so you’re already in a good position to start QTLS, rather than leaving it and not coming back. You’re entering the sector more qualified and sending a signal to employers that you’re willing to commit to additional development.” Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was one of the first institutions to partner with SET to offer the new pathway. Angela Schofield, course leader for post-compulsory education and training at NTU, says it will mean trainees gain “continued support and

professional development” in their first year as a qualified teacher. “Every year, many of our trainees go on to register for professional formation and we advise them prior to the process,” she says. “Now we can do this in an official capacity and support them throughout. We believe it is a great way for trainees to continue their development as reflective practitioners and receive a similar experience to other newly qualified teachers completing QTS.” Being able to offer it as part of their teaching course has benefited the university too, widening its appeal to students looking for added professional development.

L A R U T A N ION S S E R G O R P eir

h ue t n i t con rsity o t ers r unive h c tea h thei e e g n trai throu s w S allo r QTL T SE ter fo y b ive regis t a i init s and w e e A n studi


28-29 Feat - QTLS Pathway_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 28

25/11/2020 15:38






‘THIS WILL BOOST CAREERS ACROSS OUR REGION’ Teesside University was the first university to pilot this new route, with an initial cohort of students completing QTLS in 2019, and a further 30 pursuing the status this year. Jo IrvingWalton, principal lecturer in learning and teaching, says that, prior to offering the new route, the numbers pursuing QTLS had been relatively low. “Some students who went into schools wanted to get parity with QTS, but it was only a small minority and only highly motivated students,” she explains. “We were keen for more students to go into the process straight out of study as they’re used to building a portfolio as part of their PGCE.” Teesside covers the cost of gaining the status, creating an added incentive. Offering the option to complete the status straight after initial teacher training will also boost the profile of FE careers in the region, feels

Irving-Walton. “More than 90 per cent of students said they wouldn’t have done it if the university hadn’t offered the option,” she says. “Some of them lack the confidence, or feel they ‘don’t deserve’ to do it straight away. This gives them more flexibility.” It has also created a wider network of colleagues at the same stage, creating potential for mentoring opportunities further down the line. The first years of a career in education can be tough, so the support of a familiar setting and established network can be vital for retention. “The advantage is you’re with people you know, in a setting you’re familiar with,” she adds. “You could do it online, but you would not get the same connection with fellow students. Employers really value early-stage teachers who can demonstrate their commitment to professional development right from the get-go.”

From this year, the University of Greenwich School of Education will welcome its first set of trainees for QTLS, who are alumni or have studied at one of the university’s satellite colleges. Louise Atkins, head of initial teacher education, says she is delighted to be working with the Education and Training Foundation to offer the new route. “We believe in the importance of QTLS status, as it advances FE teachers in their careers and demonstrates improved expertise and experience as reflective practitioners, which is important to the sector,” she says. “Prospective students can apply for a PGCE, which leads onto QTLS status, and former students are able to apply for it as a standalone option. Applicants will be supported during completion of the QTLS portfolio via online group and individual workshops.” Because trainees have studied at Greenwich or one of its colleges previously, they are already familiar with tutors and the review process, and “this, in turn, tends to motivate applicants to develop critical analysis skills and become reflective practitioners”, Atkins adds. “There is not only continuity for these students but familiarity with the university team, and this aims to enhance both progression in applying for QTLS status and success in completing their professional formation in a timely manner.” Applicants are guided through the submission process via a series of online workshops, and tutors trained in reviewing support them to build their portfolios. This in itself is valuable, says Atkins. “Workshop sessions delivered by experienced reviewers offer a detailed step-by-step approach to the professional formation process, with time-saving hints and tips to help applicants complete the sections of the portfolio.”


28-29 Feat - QTLS Pathway_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 29

25/11/2020 15:38


Remote learnings The Covid-19 pandemic has seen virtual laboratories used more widely in a science setting, something Dr Neil Peirson was already investigating as a learning method. Here, he outlines the key findings of his research n the ‘new world’ that a global pandemic is beginning to shape, it is very likely that we will rely much more on digital technologies. Viewed from within the event, the tendency is to adopt a perspective that focuses on the immediate. However, it is worth remembering that planning ways to move forward in uncertain times has always been a risky business, perhaps never more so than now. Education is an area where there has been, in the recent past, a move towards increased digital delivery of the curriculum (JISC, 2015). One strand of this digital development has been


the emergence of the ‘virtual science laboratory’; this has been particularly true in the context of higher education (HE) (Lewis, 2014). Virtual laboratories (VL) have existed for a number of years and recently have increased in sophistication. These computer-based simulations can be quite simple or highly detailed representations of a real laboratory. They offer a good way

for students to develop practical skills; Miller, Carver and Roy (2018) found no difference in outcomes compared with real laboratories. Some of the newest versions are based in virtual reality, making them feel even closer to the real laboratory (RL).

The context This study is concerned with students at a large Midlandsbased further education (FE) college and how they respond to the use of virtual laboratories. Following BTEC applied science programmes, our students are familiar with a ‘normal’ school or college science laboratory. These students come with a wide range of experience; the majority coming from ethnic minority backgrounds, many are non-native English speakers. Often, they have previously been disappointed by low levels of attainment while at school. Many lack self-confidence


30-32 The Knowledge - Peirson_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 30

25/11/2020 15:41


and resilience when faced with new challenges. The study is carried out in line with the latest British Educational Research Association (BERA) Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research (2018).

The main benefits of practical science, Holman (2017)

The questions I started this project with a large number of questions. I have refined these down to three general questions: Does teaching practical science in a VL increase students’ skills and understanding in the same way as in a physical laboratory? How do our students feel about learning practical science in a VL? Will our students develop the employability skills required by employers? The method chosen for this study is a questionnaire. I decided to use the five outcomes (see table) identified by Holman (2017) in a study of practical science as a basis for questions about how effective the students found VL compared with RL. It might be argued that Holman’s point 4 is vague, so it may not be clear what the student is thinking when answering. There are two questions about each outcome; the first, on a fivepoint Likert scale, and the second, a more open question, inviting a text answer. Both questions address the comparison of experiments carried out in real laboratories with those in virtual laboratories. The questionnaire was presented as an additional task after the completion of a virtual laboratory exercise similar to one undertaken in a real laboratory earlier in the year. This is not an ideal way to make the comparison, which may bias the results. However, under the circumstances of college closure, it was the best option available. If we look at the results from a qualitative viewpoint, then we can hope to gain some useful insights.



To teach the principles of scientific inquiry


To improve understanding of theory through practical experience


To teach specific practical skills, such as measurement and observation, that may be useful in future study or employment


To motivate and engage students


To develop higher-level skills and attributes, such as communication, teamwork and perseverance

Following the work of van Maanen (see Connelly and Clandinin, 1990) we can concentrate on the verisimilitude of the comments rather than their validity in the strictest sense.

Results – what students say There is a bias in the Likert data for all questions in favour of the RL, as shown in Figure 1; this is in contrast to the findings of Miller, Carver and Roy (2018), who conducted a similar study in an HE context. The bias appears most distinct for Q4, concerning motivation. From the comments, it appears that one important factor is that of the social interaction involved in the RL. This resonates closely with the work of those who support a socialconstructivist approach to learning. They emphasise the importance of learning as an interactive, social practice to argue that learning, as well as motivation, occurs as a result of the interaction of students in the physical environment. Such interactions are (currently) difficult to replicate in the VL. Students recognise that to “actually do it physically” helps them to gain “understanding, using real practical experience”. Students’ responses in the study also show an appreciation of developing “good practice for future” as they “work as a team together”, learning “better measurement and observation skills”. Many of the students found value in the VL. Some who “had


DR NEIL PEIRSON is lecturer in chemistry, physics and applied science at The Sheffield College

trouble doing it in class… just sat and completed it and actually understood it”. Learners also appreciated the benefits of opportunities offered in the VL for self-paced work: “I can also take my time to help me understand the theory” or “re-read pieces of information and gain a new understanding”. Responses indicate that students also found value in developing deeper learning “because I can use the simulations to help me understand how things work” and “virtual is good for the explaining”. One student reported that the VL provided a refuge: “Doing experiments in a lab makes me nervous and panicked. I like doing them virtually.” There is a safe space to try things out “and not mess it up”, surrounded by others. It may be useful here to draw out the following tentative findings: The VL is technology-dependent. Students using a range of devices have a range of experiences: meaning that unfamiliar software can lead to frustration


30-32 The Knowledge - Peirson_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 31

25/11/2020 15:42



Figure 1: What students say The Likert data is shown in the figure below, where only the combined preferences for each type of laboratory are shown (a total of 34 responses; neutral omitted)








0 1 Principles of inquiry

2 Understanding 3 Practical skills through practice

During lockdown, some students may feel the desire to be in a physical laboratory as part of a desire for ‘normality’ Students may experience negative physical environments while completing VL work Data and comments suggest that students are concerned with the issue of ‘motivation’; however, as discussed above, this urgently warrants clearer definition and further investigation Students’ current language achievement may reduce the quality of their interaction with virtual laboratories and their willingness to make a written response.

4 Motivate and engage

5 Develop higherlevel skills

While it would be inappropriate to make generalisations from a small-scale research study such as this, the following issues appear, in the use of VLs in the teaching and learning of practical science, to be worthy of more in-depth and sustained research as follows: There needs to be greater understanding of both the intellectual and emotional experiences of learning through

The way forward… From this limited study, it appears that careful implementation may be key to the success of VLs in FE. Students can be excited and engaged by new technology. However, difficult-to-use technology or software can cause issues.

VLs in order to make the most of these resources Care needs to be taken during the planned implementation of VLs in FE in order to explore how we can best employ VLs to enhance students’ learning experiences Biggs (2015) argues that assessment and teaching should align with educational outcomes. In the context of VLs, the choice of technology, software and the explanatory language used need to be considered carefully, to ensure that these also align with the desired outcomes Outcomes should reflect the values that practical science can give in educating FE students. Those identified by Holman (2017), however, may not reflect those most relevant to FE students, particularly in relation to motivation The implementation of VLs needs to be monitored and studied systematically to allow careful reflection. This research was carried out as part of the Education and Training Foundation’s Practitioner Research Programme with the Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training at the University of Sunderland (SUNCETT). Many thanks to Maggie Gregson, professor of vocational education and director of SUNCETT, for her support with this article

References and further reading Biggs J. (2015) Aligning teaching for constructing learning.

JISC. (2015) Enhancing the student digital experience: a strategic approach.

British Educational Research Association [BERA]. (2018) Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research (fourth edition). London.

Lewis D. (2014) The pedagogical benefits and pitfalls of virtual tools for teaching and learning laboratory practices in the biological sciences. The HE Academy.

Connelly MF and Clandinin J. (1990) Stories of Experience and Narrative Inquiry. American Education Research Association Journal 19(5): 2-14. Holman J. (2017) Good Practical Science. Gatsby Foundation.

Miller TA, Carver JS and Roy A. (2018) To go virtual or not to go virtual, that is the question: a comparative study of face-to-face versus virtual laboratories in a physical science course. Journal of College Science Teaching 48(2): 59.


30-32 The Knowledge - Peirson_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 32

25/11/2020 15:42



ROLL OF HONOUR So far there have been four cohorts of SET’s Advanced Teacher Status programme. The successful individuals are listed below. Congratulations to all! COHORT 1 Charlotte Barton Elaine Battams Stavroula Bibila Rebecca Blackburn Nigel Cannar Joyce Chen Ruth Cole Anthony Davis-Britter Alison Drew Louise Ford Anne Groll Andrew Harriss Christine Helme Gail Lydon Vicky Lyons

Stacy Mann Elaine Mattinson Anita McGowan Natalie Morris Valeria Panyko Amanda Perryman Tony Privett Angela Reay Dave Shurmer David Smith Michael Smith Robert Steele Lynne Taylerson Sophia White Jacklyn Williams Lisa Williamson Sallyann Wright

COHORT 2 Oludara Ahunanya Oluwakemi Ajose Olusola Beverly Beukes David Brook Stacey Bullock Marilyn Carthy Lesley Clark Katy Dennis Mike Dixon Judith Elliott Clare Fisher Philip Green Nichola Holmes Rebecca Hughes Robert Hunter

Matt Jenkins Irena Kettles Kathryn Langford Pam Lavender Stacey Mann John Mensah Jacqueline Oldham Ruksana Patel Angela Reay Sandra Rennie Kaye Rogers Alan Shorter Ann Solomon Penelope Taylor Stacy Vipas Liam Ward Christine Welsh

Dominic Whelan Katie Wilden Charlotte Windmill

COHORT 3 Daniel Bellamy Andrew Brooks Fay Cavagin Elaine Clarke Andrew Cooper Martine Ellis Gemma Flavell Kirstie Harrington Sue Jacobs James Kay Dauda Jude Lawani Karen Littleford

Ian McGrady Heidi McWade Annie Pendrey Wendy Peskett Tania Purchase Jodie Rees Tina Reilly James Reynolds Katy Saunders Nicola Smith Leona Wing Yee So Vikki Trace


Phil Deegan Gloria Diabour Matthew Griffin Michael Hackman Daryl Handy Mandy Hayward Jennifer Long Michelle Mcguire Avni Pancholi Jyoti Prabhakar Peter Dominic Saban Helen Wood Stephanie Janka-Spurlock

Giles Bennett Ecatarina Bright Almudena Cotton

Learn smarter, Be better. We combine behavioural psychology, innovative design and engaging digital delivery to create learning solutions that excite and inspire students. From video to gamification, our interactive learning experiences give students greater flexibility throughout their learning journey. CDS DS create digital learning content that sticks.

• The Bramery, 44 Alstone Lane, Cheltenham. GL518HE. • 160 Rombourne, Aztec West, Bristol, BS32 4TU. • OCT_A5_LS_AD ARTWORK_.indd 1

30-32 The Knowledge - Peirson_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 33

21/10/2020 15:39:45


25/11/2020 15:42



ost people, at some point, have experienced a feeling that something is not quite right, but can’t explain why. Understanding the unconscious aspects of our knowledge may help explain this phenomenon. As Hodges says, knowledge, gained consciously and held in memory, tends to dominate published discourses: “The brain is an unconscious, automatic machine, producing precise and sometimes very complicated reactions to stimuli.” (Hodges, 2014, p. 449). Unfortunately, the intuitive, unconscious domain of knowledge is under-investigated. This intuitive component is a rich, largely untapped learning source.


Known knowns (episteme)

Known unknowns (gaps)

‘Known knowns’ are represented in Figure 1 by the segment ‘CK Episteme’; they constitute knowledge of which we are consciously aware and can articulate. We accept it as a justified belief, based on empirical evidence, but it may be false. So, some may consider it true that ‘all swans are white’, but only because there was no evidence of black swans at the time. DR PAUL ROBBINS What we are able to express is is a freelance consultant, gained through education. We specialising in also accrue knowledge from social leadership and interactions, or by reading. This executive coaching, collected knowledge needs to be and a former maintained through repeated curriculum team leader for teacher usage and conscious reflection. training and access Failure to maintain it allows it to to higher education slip into the unconscious, making at Chelmsford recall difficult. College in Essex

‘Known unknowns’, the things we know we do not know, are represented in Figure 1 by the segment ‘CU Gaps’. The Greek philosopher Plato believed that we all possess all the knowledge in the universe and that what we perceive as learning is merely remembering (anamnesis, or unforgetting). Regardless of whether we remember or learn from our experiences, we are conscious of the gaps. There will also be gaps that others can help us bridge. Through training, continued professional development or personal research, we can reduce gaps and expand our episteme. Developments in the conscious aspects of our knowledge (CK and CU) are generally the areas in which we are most active. However, the two remaining segments of the unconscious are just as important, if not more so.

Unknown knowns Taking a more holistic view of knowledge can enhance our learning, enabling us to become more reflexive and reflective practitioners. Dr Paul Robbins explains

Unknown unknowns (the void) ‘Unknown unknowns’, the things that we do not know we do not know, are represented in Figure 1 by the segment ‘UU The Void’, referring to an absence of valid and verified explicit knowledge. We can, however, generate pseudoknowledge using our imagination. This enables us to formulate rich pictures of what might happen, so we can plan ahead. Our creative thinking processes make use of all the knowledge available to us, both explicit and tacit. Using our imagination can also provide us with a useful portal into the tacit dimension. We may feel that something is about to happen before it does, and this will emerge from our intuition (what some refer to as our ‘sixth sense’).

Unknown knowns (intuition) ‘Unknown knowns’, the things we know but do not know we know, are represented in Figure 1 by


34-35 The Knowledge - Robbins_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 34

25/11/2020 15:43














the segment ‘UK Intuition’ as unconscious knowns, or the tacit dimension. There are several layers of knowledge in this invisible domain, both inherited and learned. Inherited knowledge, in the form of biological drives, informs us when there are known bodily deficiencies. We also inherit instinctive responses to danger or novelty through the orienting reflex. Knowledge from our ancestors, in the form of genetic tags, extends back over thousands of years and, like biological knowledge, is deeply embedded in the limbic system. Knowledge of how to behave in social settings is copied from others and contained in cultural memes. Thus, we continually interact with our environment and collect information that governs our behaviour (Peterson, 2002). This unconscious domain of knowing is our source of intuition. As Polanyi (1966) posits, “we know far more than we can say”. This knowledge, forged in the deep subconscious, is the source of our enhanced cognitive and physical abilities. We can achieve competence by attending courses,

Figure 1: Four domains of knowledge Figure 1 demonstrates the totality of our knowledge, both visible and invisible. All knowledge gained through education, socialisation and experience can be categorised into four separate, discrete components. The horizontal plane relates to knowledge. The vertical plane displays the level of consciousness of this knowledge: whether we are consciously aware of it (C), or unaware (U).

reading books or speaking to professionals, but we cannot gain the experiences needed for extended expertise from these sources. The incremental, micro-level learning gained in the process of doing things over time builds on competence and increases our effectiveness. Our bodies and minds feel what is or is not working (Dreyfus and Dreyfus, 1980), and, by listening closely to these feelings, we can help make this tacit knowledge explicit and enhance our learning.

Learning from the tacit domain The more we can make knowledge explicit and share it with others, the more we will learn. In his knowledge management model of socialisation, externalisation, combination and internalisation, Nonaka (1990) describes the simple process of converting tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. He suggests social interaction provides an opportunity to share tacit knowledge and generates a spiral of learning for the individual that then becomes internalised. Although Nonaka recognises that sharing experience is helpful in transferring tacit knowledge to explicit via another person’s lived experiences, it appears he did not consider the extent of the associated knowledge involved in the experiences shared. The only way this can be gained is by living through the experiences oneself. In addition, while Nonaka details the process involving the interpersonal aspect


of sharing tacit knowledge, less consideration is given to the intrapersonal aspect: the selftalk and self-conversion of tacit to explicit. With practice, we can learn to think consciously during our experiences and capture our feelings in real time (reflexive action). Through rational thinking, we can also identify possible reasons for those feelings. On a personal level, we can also reflect on our feelings after an event (reflective action) and attempt to make sense of them. This intrapersonal aspect may also signal potential gaps in knowledge related to technical, task-specific aspects that, as individuals, we do not yet understand. Used together, the dual intrapersonal and interpersonal strategies of reflexive and reflective action can function as a psychological portal into the tacit dimension. Lastly, we can expand learning even further by articulating any explicit knowledge revealed by telling it to others. As teachers know, the only way to truly test our understanding is by articulating it. Adding the pressure of speaking to an audience engenders creativity; it forces us to be judicious in our choice of words.

References and further reading Dreyfus S and Dreyfus H. (1980) A five-stage model of the mental activities involved in directed skill acquisition. California, USA: California University, Berkeley Operations Research Centre. Hodges A. (2014) Alan Turing: The Enigma. London, UK: Vintage Books, Random House. Nonaka I. (1990) Management Of Knowledge Creation. Tokyo, Japan: Nihon Keizai Shimbun Publishing. Peterson J. (2002) Maps Of Meaning: The Architecture Of Belief. London, UK: Routledge. Polanyi M. (1966) The Tacit Dimension. Chicago, USA: The University of Chicago Press. Rumsfeld D. (2013) ‘Use of Imagination.’ In: The Unknown Known [DVD].


34-35 The Knowledge - Robbins_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 35

26/11/2020 10:39



ssessment strategies in the further education sector have developed and changed within the past decade. Endpoint assessment in apprenticeships, the removal of AS qualifications as part of A Levels and an increase in ‘final unit exams’ for many BTECs have increased the pressure on students to produce their summative assessments independently. T Levels will also introduce new approaches, such as employer-set projects and exams for the core components. So how do teachers help learners to recall and prepare for exam windows? During the Covid-19 pandemic, practitioners had to ‘calculate’ results from the formative assessments they had already completed with their students and base these ‘outcomes’ on known evidence. For many teachers, this was an emotional and intense process, where their professional expertise and judgement were relied on to give valid and reliable results for the qualifications. For some, it highlighted that their future practice should include more opportunities for assessment of learning. Ofsted, within the Education Inspection Framework for Further Education and Skills 2019, states that ‘good’ within the quality of education would demonstrate that “over the course of study, teachers design and use activities to help learners remember long-term the content they have been taught, to integrate new knowledge into larger concepts, and to apply skills fluently and independently”. In the 1980s, new teachers learned about ‘attention span’. Today, this might be identified as ‘cognitive load’, ‘short-term memory’ or ‘working memory’. But, essentially, when readying students for assessment, we must look at how knowledge can be retained, recalled and applied. For maths and English GCSE teachers,


Total recall

students may be preparing for their 10th or 11th re-sit, so improving exam techniques and retrieval strategies is vital. Other learners face additional barriers to recall, such as attention deficit disorder or dyslexia, making an inclusive approach a necessity.

Sticky lyrics


regional specialist lead in maths and English and is now the lead CPD trainer at the Education and Training Foundation With thanks to Bob Read and Claire Callow, regional specialist leads in maths and English

So, have you ever had an ‘earworm’ (Jakubowski et al, 2017)? That repeated section of music that stays for longer than most people would like? Forgive me mentioning ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’ or ‘A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh’ or ‘I can’t get you out of my head’. But what makes those melodies or lyrics ‘stick’ and why one song for some will conjure up memories or knowledge long forgotten and yet for others create no meaning at all? Sticky learning is a buzzword in education today and has even been trademarked as an approach to a unique training method.

Gladwell (2002) argues that the method of presentation and the structure of information greatly affects the ‘stickiness’ of a message. He said you know a message is sticky when it makes an impact, when it sticks with you beyond the learning experience, and when it influences your behaviour, which is the result that most FE teachers want for their learners. Aspects of making learning stick can be explored within other educational concepts such as memory, cognitive load, spacing, retrieval and interleaving. Mccrea (2017) talks about how memory and learning can be used to build deep, powerful and lasting understanding, so that students are more confident and independent and teachers are more informed and effective. With his nine principles of memorable teaching, he suggests that the power of long-term memory


Helping learners to absorb and recall information is a vital part of preparing them for exams. Kathryn Langford looks at techniques to aid sticky learning


36-37 The Knowledge - Langford_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 36

25/11/2020 15:43


(LTM) is a function of two factors – depth and durability. To build this, we need to leverage working memory (WM), so that where LTM equals knowledge, WM equates to thinking power.

Less is more Many FE teachers, when adapting their face-to-face teaching approaches to online or blended learning, report to have identified that ‘less is more’ when sharing information and the ‘taught’ content with students. They then move their learners from the ‘harness’ phase to active learning, where students can complete activities, direct their WM and build LTM. In the final stage, learners/students transition between presentation and practice, and learning is demystified, with learners/students assessing themselves, identifying their progress and acknowledging the actual learning process. Memorable teaching takes time and relies on routines and frequency, which will build into successful and meaningful learning and link into other strategies and approaches for learning. Students will need structure and scaffolds to support the memorable aspects of knowledge and application of information. Many of you will have tried mnemonics to provide these frameworks, for example SohCahToa for GCSE maths (three main functions of trigonometry) or GAPS for English (genre, audience, purpose and style for analysis of written text). Heath and Heath (2007) discuss six principles that can be identified when analysing hundreds of ‘sticky ideas’: Simplicity – reducing ideas to the bare minimum or core of the idea Unexpectedness – creating surprise, interest and curiosity Concreteness – clarity of an idea that means the same to everyone Credibility – believable, with its own credentials

MANY FE TEACHERS HAVE FACED FRUSTRATION WHEN ASKING STUDENTS ‘WHAT DID WE DO LAST WEEK?’ Emotions – getting learners to care or ‘feel’ the learning Stories – mental rehearsals to help responses. To this they also add the term ‘the curse of knowledge’, which could be the seventh principle and one to avoid. For many teachers, it is that lack of awareness of what learners are thinking, and how they receive the message, that removes the impact of their ‘teaching’.

Make an impression For many within FE who are working to motivate and engage young adults in their learning, they may need to present information that is ‘wacky’, needed or translated into terminology the students understand to make it stick. For example, Smith (2019) has created a ‘Hooks’ Padlet for maths, which contains links to images, videos and other sources of information that can stimulate discussion and intrigue students with mathematical concepts, all with the element of surprise. This resource also crosses over into other subjects. Many FE teachers have faced frustration when asking students ‘What did we do last week?’. Sprenger (2018), like the Heaths and Mccrea, suggests ‘steps’ to enhance learning and support retention and retrieval. Her view of making memories ‘sticky’ could be completed in any order, depending on what the teacher is trying to teach. Reach – getting and keeping student attention, possibly with novelty, need, motivation or emotion


Reflect – creating space for students to think and connect new material to previous learning Recode – students take information and generate their own material Reinforce – feedback to ensure the correct information has been recoded Rehearse – information is practised and moved to long-term memory Review – retrieve information from long-term memory into working memory Retrieve – strategies to enable students to find the information they have stored in memory. Whatever assessment strategy students are working towards, they have to understand the message, and will need information to present to examiners, processes to help them find that information in their memories, and strategies that helped them put it there in the first place, using terminology that makes sense. Unfortunately, for many learners, ‘A-weemaweh’ may be incomprehensible and instantly forgotten. Perhaps I should leave you with that earworm, or image, for those of you who can remember Top of the Pops back in 1982.

References and further reading Gladwell M. (2002) The Tipping Point. Boston: Back Bay Books. Heath C and Heath D. (2007) Made to Stick. London: Arrow Books. Jakubowski K, Finkel S, Stewart L and Müllensiefen D. (2017) Dissecting an earworm. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts 11(2): 122-135. Available at: Mccrea P. (2017) Memorable Teaching. Great Britain: Amazon Books. Smith J. (2019) Sprenger. (2018)


36-37 The Knowledge - Langford_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 37

25/11/2020 15:44


The one thing The Guernsey College of Further Education transformed its approach to professional development with just one thing. Martine Ellis explains he graded observation of teaching and learning (OTL) has, for many years, been considered an essential quality improvement tool that supports teachers’ professional development. It has been argued that graded OTL may capture an unreliable snapshot of teaching and learning. Teachers can feel under pressure to achieve ‘top marks’ so they will “frequently teach to the observation criteria” to give their observers “the old razzle dazzle” (Thompson and Wolstencroft, 2014). It is not difficult to work out the ‘formula’ for a successful lesson observation. In a study of OTL across 10 FE colleges in the West Midlands, Professor Matt O’Leary described an encounter with Terry, an engineering tutor with over 25 years’ experience “who knew precisely which boxes to tick” to achieve a high grade in his lesson observation. Terry’s formula included “knowing your lesson plan inside out”, “a lot of walking around”, and “that old chestnut, differentiation” (O’Leary, 2013). In concluding the study, O’Leary strongly recommended OTL be released from the “shackles of managerialist control”. He went on to state that the “professional needs of tutors must come before the requirements of performance management systems” (O’Leary, 2013). Other studies question the credibility of observers in the graded OTL model. Carol A Thompson and Peter


Wolstencroft’s research revealed “a high degree of resentment regarding the ability of those observing lessons to make valid judgements” (Thompson and Wolstencroft, 2014). The reason cited was that most observers were senior leaders who did not have recent teaching experience. The act of grading OTL makes it a measure of performance.

Performance management, of course, has a place, but there are more accurate ways to measure performance than an OTL snapshot. It is important we explore other effective ways to support teachers’ professional development and improve the quality of teaching and learning.

A review of OTL at Guernsey College Three years ago, the Guernsey College of Further Education reviewed its approach to OTL. Before the review, observations were conducted by the lesson observation team; a group of experienced teachers who had previously achieved high grades in lesson observations. The use of peers to conduct observations was considered progressive at the

MARTINE ELLIS leads professional development, scholarly activity and teacher education at the Guernsey College of Further Education, part of The Guernsey Institute. She is also the host of The Teaching Space podcast (theteaching and a member of SET’s Practitioner Advisory Group




38-39 The Knowledge - Ellis_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 38

25/11/2020 15:44


time; however, a judgement was still required. This review of OTL was the start of a significant cultural shift for Guernsey College in its approach to professional development. Graded OTL was replaced with a new professional development cycle, called the One Thing. This teacher-led model of professional development enables innovation, experimentation and reflection in a safe environment. The safe environment is created by removing grading and judgement. The One Thing is about support, not scrutiny. The Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL) says “teaching staff are best placed to improve teaching and learning by identifying and targeting their own professional needs” (FETL, 2019). Whereas OTL was something that was ‘done to’ teachers, the One Thing is owned by them. This element of ownership promotes a culture of professional trust and encourages teacher agency. The One Thing also takes into account teachers’ professional identities. A study by Earley and Porritt (2014) found that shifting the focus of professional development to student progress, rather than what the teacher doesn’t know (a deficit model), “stretched participants’ thinking and helped them improve”. Students are at the heart of teachers’ professional identity; that is why ‘student progress’ is an aim of the One Thing.

The One Thing in practice At the start of the academic year, teachers reflect on the previous year and assess themselves against the ETF’s Professional Standards. They focus on their teaching practice. Supported by a teaching and learning (T&L) peer and informed by their reflection and selfassessment, teachers select one aspect of their practice to develop over the coming academic year;



The One Thing aims FACILITATE practice development, enabling teachers to explore, innovate, experiment and share practice ENHANCE student progress and experience DEVELOP teachers as reflective practitioners

SUPPORT teachers in taking ownership of their professional development

CREATE a safe, non-judgemental

environment and promote a culture of professional trust

Year one of the One Thing generated encouraging feedback from teachers: 100 per cent of teachers agreed that the One Thing had benefited their teaching practice 97 per cent of teachers could see how the One Thing could give them opportunities to develop their practice in the future 89 per cent of teachers agreed that the One Thing was an enjoyable experience. One teacher said: “I think the One Thing is a really positive and constructive way to make teachers better at teaching and learning – thank you.” (Anonymous, 2018). The One Thing evolves in response to teachers’ needs and feedback, as well as emerging research about effective pedagogy and professional development. For example, this year, unseen observation and the publication of research are activity options.

their One Thing. The idea behind focusing on just one thing is that it should feel manageable, and it could potentially create a ‘domino effect’ of improvement. The role of the T&L peer is to facilitate the One Thing process for a group of teachers. Any teacher can apply to become a T&L peer. The selection To find out more about the One criteria require the applicant to demonstrate current Thing at Guernsey College, watch knowledge of educational research and a commitment the case study video created by the to their own professional development (applicants ETF at are expected to have achieved Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills or Advanced Teacher Status, or be working towards either). Once appointed, T&L peers are provided References and with coaching training to support further reading them in their role. Earley P and Porritt V. (2014) Evaluating the impact The One Thing timeline spans the of professional development: the need for a studentacademic year. Term one is for research. focused approach. Professional Development in Teachers refine their One Thing Education 40(1): 112–129. and undertake research, supported FETL (Further Education Trust for Leadership). by their T&L peer. Term two is the (2019) The role of leadership in prioritising and improving the quality of teaching and learning in experimentation phase. Teachers work further education. closely with their T&L peer and select a One Thing activity to support their O’Leary M. (2014) Classroom Observation. 1st ed. Oxon and New York: Routledge. development, such as a professional discussion, a classroom visit from their O’Leary M. (2013) Surveillance, performativity and T&L peer, an unseen observation, a normalised practice: the use and impact of graded lesson observations in further education colleges. materials review or something else. Journal of Further and Higher Education 37(5): This activity is developmental, not 694-714. judgemental. The T&L peer is expected Thompson C and Wolstencroft P. (2014) ‘Give to coach their group of teachers, not to ’em the old razzle dazzle’ – surviving the lesson mentor them. Term three is for impact observation process in further education. Research in Post-Compulsory Education 19(3): 261-275. evaluation and sharing practice.


38-39 The Knowledge - Ellis_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 39

25/11/2020 15:45



TOP T WEE TS Our @SocietyET has been busier than ever, as a means of keeping you informed and letting you share y your thoughts and tips g p

Please us e and follow ou r hashtag

#SETinTuitio n to see the THE FORUM

latest features from inTuition

A year of adaptation t is hard to believe that December is already upon us and that we have been adapting to this new world for almost nine months. It has been humbling to hear stories from colleges and training providers that have slowly but surely adjusted, while upskilling their own professional development to make the most of digital tools and resources. During the recent SET Conference, we also heard from leaders at colleges and educational organisations who have kept the wellbeing of their staff at the top of their agenda. Coping with new levels of stress while trying to maintain a work-life balance has been no easy feat. With this in mind, we welcome you to make the most of our online communities via Facebook – especially while our popular Local Network Group events are on hold. These groups offer support from others if you are feeling overwhelmed and would like some advice. You can find a link to our ‘Communities’ information underneath ‘Professionalism’ on the homepage top navigation bar. As closed groups, only group members can see your posts, making it a safe space to ask questions and share tips. We also welcome any suggestions for live webchats, so if you have a topic in mind or would like to host one, please do get in touch with me.


We have been delighted to welcome acclaimed teacher and author Geoff Petty back to our monthly webinar series. For those of you who have attended, and received a CPD certificate as a result, it’s been great to hear how you have been inspired to try new methods and how these have worked for you. Geoff is to continue hosting webinars right up to March 2021, so keep an eye on our webinar page to register your attendance. In the previous issue, I highlighted the top eight benefits you can access as a SET member. This time, I am going to shine a light on one in particular – our online library, which comprises more than 11,000 eBooks on a wide range of categories. The latest reports revealed ‘lifelong learning’, ‘reflective practice’ and ‘adultt teaching strategies’ as top search termss from the past three months. I often find myself scrolling down the many resources on offer, most recently downloading Small Paws: Essential Behaviour and Training Tips for Young Puppies and Small Dogs to deal with my crazy new puppy! So please do check it out to see if you can find something to inspire or inform you as part of your role, or simply to support your health and wellbeing. JULIA FAULKS is communications editor at SET


40-41 Members corner_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 40

25/11/2020 15:45




CATCH THEM BEFORE THEY FALL How do some schools and colleges get more than 90 per cent of their students achieving their qualification aims, without cheating the data? In this webinar, author and teacher Geoff Petty looked at an education provider that achieved astonishing results. Here are some of the questions and answers from the event: SET member: Could this method work within a prison setting, where they have already fallen and we are trying to pick them up again? GP: The principle of monitoring with consequences, which sums up the ‘Catch them before they fall’ strategy, applies in every case of education. In a prison setting there might be difficulties in getting the support to the student – especially if they are not allowed out of their cell. You may need to work within those restrictions, using podcasts, videos or handouts where appropriate.


SET member: In adult and community learning, most of my students work full time, and many have families – how can the cycle be modified? GP: The idea doesn’t need a lot of modification. ‘Monitoring with consequences’ and ‘challenging students but also providing support’ are still entirely relevant strategies. You can do this quite informally. You need to review each student’s progress, talk to them about what they do well and what they need to work on. You need to set targets for improvement, which might require work at home, and you need to provide the support that the student needs to meet this target. Increase support if the target is not being met. This is not easy – it took Hurworth School nine years to implement it fully. However, the way forward is clear, you just have the challenge to find how to implement it. Register to watch this webinar ondemand at

SET Facebook groups for you to join

SET attracts a vibrant community of practitioners in further education and training to its member-only Facebook groups to discuss and share effective practice and current issues affecting the sector. There are five closed Facebook groups SET members can join, including:



SET GROUP Our SET Group is the main community space for members to discuss a range of key sector issues, share resources and discuss how SET can support you as practitioners in further education and training

QTLS GROUP This group has been set up for SET members who are seeking advice and shared experiences of undertaking Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) – the badge of professionalism for post-16 education and training







SET WEBCHATS SET LOCAL AND WEBINARS NETWORK GROUPS This group has been set Our local network up for SET members who Facebook group gives wish to take part in live SET members a chance webchats and webinars. to virtually meet others Find out about upcoming in their area. Members digital events, where you will be able to share can quiz industry experts good practice and on a range of topics to achievements, network help you progress your and identify opportunities career in FE and training to work together

5 ATS GROUP This group has been set up for practitioners undertaking Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) – the badge of advanced professionalism and mastery in further education and training SETadvancedteacherstatus


40-41 Members corner_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 41

25/11/2020 15:46


How did you first get into teaching? I got into teaching at a very early age through doing volunteer work as a teenager. I undertook a few training and assessing courses, which enabled me to work with young people at the time. After completing my nursing degree, I undertook training to enable me to teach various healthcare competencies on the wards. When a job came up in my hospital’s education department, I found myself in healthcare training and higher education – both great experiences. After doing that, my current role became available and I haven’t looked back. Why did you feel this was the career for you? I love being able to help people to achieve. Coupled with my nursing background, teaching healthcare is a role that combines these two passions and experiences.

to teach student nurses about catheter care. I have a few secret ingredients!

CARING PROFESSION Voluntary work resulted in a career in healthcare training for Jersey-based Verity Sangan

Where has your career taken you so far? I’ve had some amazing opportunities so far in my career. One of my biggest personal achievements was running island-wide Sepsis training for over 400 clinical members of staff in one day at my local hospital. My other big achievement was setting up our Regulated Qualifications Framework (RFQ) pathway for staff members where I now work. Lockdown was also an interesting development for me, and I created an online training platform, which is available for both our internal staff members and external learners alike. This platform has meant that, regardless of lockdown and Covid-19, our staff have been able to keep their training in-date.

Can you run me through a typical day? A typical day for me doesn’t really exist! My day can be filled with a variety of tasks, including creating and developing new courses for our online training platform, marking RQF portfolios, assessing in practice, updating staff training matrices, writing training reports for managers, teaching, and providing support for staff members for their training and education across the organisation.

What is your current position? My current position is head of training and education for LV Care Group, a private healthcare organisation, based in Jersey.

What’s the strangest request you’ve had from a student? Working in healthcare, one of the strangest requests I’ve had was how I made fake urine when I used

What are the biggest challenges you face? The students I work with are also in full-time employment, so the biggest challenge I face is helping learners to achieve their qualifications while working and juggling their personal lives. How would you like your career to develop? I’m excited to develop my skills for delivering training and education online. Digital learning is a fascinating field of teaching. What three characteristics do you feel makes a good teacher? Teaching is all about being open, honest and transparent. Good teachers need to be able listen, give honest feedback and also admit when they need to find out more about a subject. In teaching, you are also a student. What one piece of advice would you have for your former self? Take every opportunity as it comes. You never know where an opportunity might lead, and it might turn out to be something golden. What do you most love about teaching? Helping people to realise a passion of theirs and to achieve a qualification in a subject that they are passionate about. What do you get up to in your free time? Outside work, I love spending time with my family, walking and reading. If you would like to be featured in My Life in Teaching, email




42 Members C - MLIT - Books_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 42

25/11/2020 15:46




All books have been reviewed by DR ANNE DAVIS , who has worked as a sixth-form maths teacher and head of mathematics in south-east England. She is also a private tutor, teaching mathematics, chemistry and physics, specialising in the 16+ age group. She is also a cycling and kayaking coach, with experience of coaching disabled athletes




by D Hindmarch et al. Critical Publishing 2020

by Steve Garnett Crown House Publishing 2020

This book certainly lives up to its title. It is concise and well structured, containing a wealth of useful information and suggestions for educating the older or adult learner. It covers well detailed topics, ranging from self-reflection and an introduction to teaching and learning, through to assessment of students and career development. It has been written by a team of educators from Staffordshire University, and is aimed primarily at teachers who are new to lecturing in higher education (HE). However, it will also provide new ideas for more experienced practitioners. It does not limit HE provision to universities, but also includes other providers, such as further education colleges and private trainers. It is based on an overview of the core knowledge of the Academic Professional Apprenticeship (APA) and the UK Professional Standards Framework. The chapters are broken down into background information, including references to materials covered in educator training, suggestions and strategies, task reviews, and reflections, ending with recommendations for further reading. Overall, this is an excellent book with readily accessible content covering a lot of useful information. I unreservedly recommend it.

This book claims to be aimed at the busy teacher, coping with an overcrowded curriculum in an overcrowded classroom, with the target of saving time for teachers. Cognitive load theory (CLT) is accessible, practical and ready to be implemented. It says it bridges the research and puts theory into practice in real classrooms with real students. This book meets these claims and impressed me. The author is a teacher-trainer with long and varied experience of training educators around the world. Possibly my only criticism would be that I could not find a ready definition of CLT. The author begins with a brief history of CLT, from when Sweller’s original paper was initially ignored in 1988, and explains that the theory is generally not covered in teacher training, although training is available from a number of sources. This is followed by a look at CLT effects to consider when planning different parts of a lesson in-depth, using examples of how various learning tools can be used. Excellent examples and ideas are included for making resources more effective. This book is easy to read, and ideas can be gleaned quickly for a wide range of learning stages and ages. It is highly suitable for our sector, and will be a useful addition to any staffroom book collection.

by Julie Greer (series editor: Emma Hollis) Critical Publishing 2020

InTuition readers receive a 20% discount on this book with the code IT2020 at

InTuition readers receive a 20% discount on this book with the code inTuition20 at

InTuition readers receive a 20% discount on this book with the code IT2020 at

This is one of a series of quick reads, covering key topics that new teachers encounter during their training year and first couple of years in the classroom. Although small, this book punches above its weight, offering more than a cursory overview of one of the major concerns facing teachers today. Aimed at school teachers, this book has a lot to offer any educator in the early stages of their career, especially in large establishments. There is a continuous theme of not only taking ownership of workload, but also recognising the correlation between what we do as educators and the impact this has on our students. The chapter on ‘People Like Me’, covering teacher identities, was very interesting and led me to contemplate institutional habits and the emotional tension arising from educating in an environment of which the majority of us are products. The structure of this book is excellent. Each chapter is followed by a case study and practical tasks for immediate and longer-term application. There are also useful references for further reading. This is more than just a quick guide; while it may not offer a quick fix, it has an aim that is achievable.


42 Members C - MLIT - Books_Intuition December 2020_Intuition 43

25/11/2020 15:47

If undelivered please return to: The Society for Education and Training 157-197 Buckingham Palace Road London SW1W 9SP

Register now!

Advance your career with QTLS status. Six month programme starts 11 January 2021 Visit QTLS is the abbreviation for QualiďŹ ed Teacher Learning and Skills status. The status is developed by the Education and Training Foundation and conferred through SET.

InTuition_Advert_back cover_QTLS 1 INT.DEC20.044.indd 44

18/11/2020 15:11 17:44 20/11/2020