A pilot scheme will soon be launched for a training course preparing FE lecturers for a massive expansion in the number of students needing to learn English GCSE.

The Department for Education (DfE), Education and Training Foundation (ETF), and Association of Centres for Excellence in Teacher Training (ACETT) confirmed before Christmas they were developing an English enhancement programme.

The ETF has now confirmed 80 applications have been received from providers that want to take part in a pilot scheme for the course, which will run from mid-April to July.

The main course, which will help FE lecturers teach English at GCSE, is set to be launched in September.

An ETF spokesperson said: “We are working closely with the organisations who are developing the English enhancement programme under contract with DfE.

“Based on the outcome of the pilots, and learning from the current maths enhancement programme, we expect to roll out an English enhancement programme in September.”

She added it was likely ETF would subsidise the courses, but was unable to say by how much at this stage.

An ACETT spokesperson said: “ACETT is sharing our learning with the ETF, from coordinating the delivery of the GSCE maths enhancement programme, to inform the future delivery model of the English GCSE professional development programme.”

A similar maths enhancement course for FE lecturers was launched last November.

A subsidy provided by the ETF limited the cost of the course to £100 per person and 2,000 lecturers have already enrolled.

The courses are needed because the government has announced learners aged 16 will no longer be able to drop maths or English, unless they have achieved at least grade C in their GCSEs.

This will mean thousands more teenagers having to be taught GCSE maths and English in FE.

A DfE spokesperson said: “Good qualifications in English and maths are what employers demand before all others.

“That is why we want all students who do not achieve a grade C or above in these subjects at GCSE to study them post 16.

“To help the further education sector prepare for this change, the ETF is developing new in-service training for teachers to enhance their English skills and help them confidently teach GCSE.  This will be piloted in the spring and is due to be rolled out nationally in the autumn.”