How do you empower learners to succeed in English and Maths?

2019 has been a big year for English and maths provision in the UK and a steep learning curve for FE providers with the Functional Skills reform coming into effect. So at Ascentis we held a series of conferences to find out what’s changed, the impact it’s had on FE and how to engage learners in English and maths.

Here is what we learnt…

Creating Study Programmes that fit the Learner

It’s a common misconception that there’s a restriction on the number of funded hours for core subjects. Actually you can distribute learning to how best fits the individual needs of the learner as long as the full study programme is no more than 600 funded hours.

Purposeful Curriculum

A new element of the Education Inspection Framework is that Inspectors will now consider how leaders and teachers develop or take on a purposeful curriculum, that provides progression and stretch, as well as English and maths for all learners – including those without GCSE legacy grades A* to C (reformed grades 9 to 4) and, where relevant, work experience or industry placements and non-qualification activities. The focus is now much more on the learner; how teaching, learning and assessments allow learners to build a portfolio of skills, including from English and maths, which not only improve their progression routes in line with their career aims but also develop their personal, social and employability skills.

In terms of English and maths don’t undervalue the importance of one-to-one support and giving additional lessons to those who need them, as previously Inspectors found there wasn’t enough of this.

Alternative Ways of teaching English and Maths

Engaging learners is the difficult part of teaching English and maths. Try mapping English and maths lessons to job tasks and creating scenarios relatable to the learner. Also consider delivering some lessons in different environments relevant to the learner – for example, teach hair and beauty students in the salon. 

How do you empower learners to succeed in English and Maths?

New Level 3 Maths and English Payment Coming Soon

For 2020/2021 there will be a new funding stream, which consists of £35 million to support students on level 3 courses who do not yet have a GCSE maths and English grade 9 to 4 or equivalent, so they can re-sit their exams in these critical subjects.

Eligible students will attract:

  • a single £750 payment per subject if they are studying a 2 year programme; or
  • a single £375 payment per subject if they are studying a 1 year programme


How do you empower learners to succeed in English and Maths?

Confidence Building in Lessons

Learners have a tendency to focus on the things they can’t do and their weaknesses in English and maths. In Manchester we heard from Karen Whitehouse of the Trafford College Group, who said that in her experience of teaching maths 50% of the challenge is persuading them they can do it. As a result it is important that English and maths programmes generate confidence. The Trafford College Group achieve this through the Ascentis English and Maths Skills, which break down the subjects into bite-sized chunks. These qualifications allow students to develop skills in topics where they have gaps in their learning and can be used to highlight learners’ strengths and build confidence. Ascentis also offer English and Maths Stepping Stones to Functional Skills which can be used to stretch and challenge, as well as preparing learners for the newly reformed Functional Skills.

Overall it’s vital that study programmes are meaningful and ensure that learners improve their level of skills in English and maths compared with their starting point, and are engaged and motivated to learn these subjects.

How do you empower learners to succeed in English and Maths?
How do you empower learners to succeed in English and Maths?

Back by Popular Demand

Due to your requests for more the English and Maths Conference will return to London on Friday 5th June 2020 with a focus on Inspiring Learner Conference in English and Maths.

Previous article Next article

Watch Our Client Videos

Ascentis helps change the lives of over 170,000 learners each year. Hear about why our staff love working for us, and why our customers love working with us.

See all

Leicester Adult Skills and Learning Service Speaking about Ascentis English & Maths Stepping Stones

Ascentis has a fantastic suite of English and Maths Stepping Stones qualifications which enable learners to focus on specific skills, build their confidence and progress onto further learning. This testimonial video features Leicester Adult Skills and Learning Service who outline the benefits to them and their learners of using these qualifications.

Watch Video

The City of Liverpool College Speaking about Ascentis Access to Higher Education

Access to HE with Ascentis - We Make a Difference. Watch our Testimonial and hear how it makes a difference to learners and the opportunities it brings.

Watch Video

Best Practice People Speaking about Ascentis Short Online Qualifications

The Ascentis Short Online Qualifications are delivered in many centres across the UK and help to support learners’ Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare. Listen to Ascentis Customer, Best Practice People talk about how effective the Ascentis Short Online Qualifications are and how they successfully aid their NEET learners, improving skills and confidence in turn helping them secure employment.

Watch Video

Join hundreds of happy centres nationwide

Arrange a meeting

What our happy customers say

“We are very pleased that we made the move to Ascentis for all our ESOL exams. The exams are appropriate for our learners, and lecturers find the marking manageable. As an organisation, Ascentis is a pleasure to work with. Our queries are always dealt with quickly and we are extremely well supported by our verifier.”

Waltham Forest

“We have thoroughly enjoyed our first year with Ascentis. There has been support of a high quality throughout the academic year. Support has been provided through a variety of roles including the quality managers, lead EQA’s and subject moderators.”

Bradford College

“We have been delighted with the impact Ascentis Extended Awards in Mathematical Skills (Stepping Stones) have had on our student’s progression towards their functional skills mathematics as well as preparing them for the completion of their GCSE. It has taught them the essential skills in mathematics which enabled them to deal with the practical problems and challenges of life – at home, in education and at work. These skills are valued by employers and further education, and are a platform on which to build other employability skills. We are also very impressed with the level of service and commitment shown by the staff of Ascentis, they are always available to help whenever help is needed.”

Brent Start

“The transparency and support of Ascentis has been refreshing. Our moderation process has been a pleasure and developmental feedback has always been welcomed.”

Kensington & Chelsea College

21st Nov 2024

Ascentis Events

  • AELP
  • CPD Certified
  • FAB
  • Cyber Essentials
  • Natecla
  • Access to Higher Education
  • The Parliamentary Review
  • West Yorkshire Learning Providers
Ascentis customers please login to view full specifications, tracking sheets, sample papers, customer policies and key documents.


Specification Overviews

Key Documents