New opportunities for FE practitioners to boost English teaching

There is big pressure for further education providers to step up with maths and English provision. The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) has responded by launching the English Pipeline which is a suite of training and resources to support teachers and trainers to develop teaching approaches in English.

The resources address the challenges faced by practitioners from a variety of routes into the profession, facing different audiences and working in different settings.

Sue Southwood, Programme Manager of Professional Standards and Workforce Development at the Education and Training Foundation, said: “We have seen a real impact from our work in maths and we hope to achieve the same levels of positive feedback from the English Pipeline, leading to improved teaching and learning. Different teachers require different levels of professional development so we have worked closely with the sector to come up with an offer that has something for everyone.”

Teachers need to be able to re-motivate and inspire their students to re-engage with a subject where they have not achieved a satisfactory grade in the past. Driven by the government’s new funding condition, GCSE enrolments in English for the further education sector have increased by 23% this academic year.  Tried and tested English lessons may not always work for the large numbers of re-sitters who had hoped to leave behind literature, poetry, spelling, punctuation and grammar as they embark on their vocational course of study.

Teachers of English have not always completed a traditional pathway and may have crossed over from another subject specialism.

The focus on raising standards of English for all students on apprenticeships, traineeships and study programmes has led to a demand for vocational teachers to improve their knowledge of English – particularly spelling, punctuation and grammar – and to be able to give their students feedback on this aspect of their work.

Working with the UCL Institute of Education, the ETF is developing a self-evaluation tool which identifies a baseline for all practitioners for them to plan their own programme of continuing professional development where there is a big emphasis on maths and English.  The tool is mapped to GCSE topics, but will be of use to all teachers of English, including vocational teachers.

The new ETF English Pipeline includes:

The Pipeline builds on the ETF’s English Enhancement Programme that built capacity in the sector by upskilling over 1,600 practitioners to teach GCSE English in a variety of settings including colleges, workplaces, community learning and prisons.

For further information on the English Pipeline and the programmes on offer visit:

Sue Southwood added: “The sector is full of highly professional teachers seeking to do the very best for their learners.  We will continue to listen to them and to develop resources further as needed.”

Notes to editors

The ETF has already trained over 4,000 practitioners through its Maths and English enhancement programmes.  Teachers have different starting points and can undertake a professional development pathway that best suits their needs.

Media enquiries

For further information contact: Lee Armitt, PR & Communications Officer, the Education and Training Foundation on 020 3740 8280 or email: 

Stephen Cox, Head of Strategic Communications, the Education and Training Foundation on 020 3740 8280 or email:


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