Second wave of maths upskilling courses planned for FE teachers

Second wave of maths upskilling courses planned for FE teachers

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) will run a second wave of training courses aimed at increasing the number of maths GCSE teachers in FE.

The government made it compulsory from this academic year for students on post-16 courses who had not achieved at least a grade C in either English or maths to continue working towards passing the subjects.

The ETF and Association of Centres for Excellence in College Education in Teacher Training (Acett) launched phase one of its maths enhancement programme (MEP) in November last year to increase the number of FE tutors capable of teaching the subject at GCSE.

More than 2,200 people completed the course, which concentrated on preparing Functional Skills maths teachers to teach GCSE, by the end of the last academic year. A further 300 have since enrolled on an English enhancement programme, introduced in September.

Sue Southwood [pictured], ETF programme manager for workforce development, said a contract had now been agreed with a consortium of partners led by Tribal Education to develop phase two of the maths programme, with a view to offering courses from early next year.

She said: “We are calling the second phase ‘maths pipeline’ courses. They will be aimed at people who completed the first MEP but still don’t feel confident enough to teach GCSE maths; other Functional Skills teachers who want to teach maths GCSE; vocational training teachers who use maths already, for example to teach hairdressing and current GCSE maths teachers who need support getting up to speed with teaching the new syllabus.

“This will be more flexible than phase one, as the different groups will need different pathways tailored to their different teaching needs.

“To help teachers and trainers identify the professional development that’s right for them, we are developing an online tool that will help them to identify their personal maths skills as well as think about their approaches to teaching maths — whether maths is their main subject or part of their vocational subject. ”

Meanwhile, ETF and Acett have agreed to offer phase one of the MEP to an extra 288 learners across the country, which will still cost £100 per person.

An Acett spokesperson said this was “in recognition of the fact that there is further demand for high quality support for maths teachers and feedback from the sector about the programme was so positive”.

“Providers will need to book quickly as most of these will start within a very short timescale,” she said.

The figures for the take-up on the courses come after a survey of the FE workforce found that around one-in-five maths teachers were only qualified up to level two in the subject.

Reports based on the results, published by the ETF, showed the highest maths qualification held by 17.1 per cent of maths teachers was level two functional or adult basic skills.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Our reforms to raise standards in English and maths are vital because these subjects are most valued by employers and will help young people secure a good job.

“That’s why all sixth forms and colleges must continue teaching these subjects to any of their students who did not get a grade C at GCSE.

“To help them deliver it, the ETF, with grant funding from the government, is providing a range of support programmes to raise the teaching skills of FE staff.”

Visit www.etfoundation.co.uk for more details.