MON: Embedding Functional Skills within Vocational Areas by means of an online database of resources.(Elizabeth Frost)
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13 January 2016
Embedding Functional Skills within Vocational Areas
English and maths are now the most important part of any student’s education, whether in primary, secondary or further education. The government has set a goal that all students should either have achieved or be working towards a C grade in GCSE English and maths as part of their study programme when they join further education, if they are under the age of 19.
Students who have a grade D in either subject must resit GCSE, but what about the students who don’t have a grade D – what happens to them? Functional skills are the answer.
One of the main issues with functional skills is that these are delivered or embedded within vocational areas and are generally from Entry level 3 to Level 2. Many vocational staff:
Are not confident that they have the expertise or ability to cover the necessary skills required by students to achieve a pass
- Feel that they are not proficient enough in English or maths
- Don’t have time to create relevant resources
- Can’t always see the links between English and maths and their vocational areas
- Are terrified at the thought of teaching Level 2 functional skills
I have spoken to many lecturers, some of whom are happy to cover English and maths and others who find one or other of the subjects completely alien. Construction lecturers often tell me that they are practically-minded, they can’t spell, don’t read much and find it difficult to write in an academic style. I would agree that these are issues, but they don’t have to be, again it is confidence and a lack of resources. My aim is to make it easy for lecturers to deliver the materials and to gain confidence in areas of weakness.
My project will involve creating resources. This will be an evolving project, with input from vocational areas, such as hairdressing, beauty, construction, IT and Art and Design. The resources will be relevant to the areas and based on the individual requirements. In essence I will create a database of materials that will be easily accessible by both lecturers and students.
My theme is inclusion and I will rely on the lecturers to advise me on the topics they will be covering. These will change from term to term, depending on the units being taught, but with a whole college approach it should be possible to create a catalogue of resources that can be added to on a regular basis.
For the conference I will show how the materials are organised within the vocational areas, present some of these materials and demonstrate how they can be used successfully. I will also highlight the exam board website for past papers, together with answers. This will also be an opportunity to provide links to websites, such as TES, Teachit and other English educational sites.
This will be an invaluable tool for new and existing lecturers.
Education and Training Foundation (2015), Making maths and English work for all. The review of what employers and learners need from the maths and English qualifications taken by young people and adults.
Weller M., (2011). ‘The Digital Scholar. How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice. London, Bloomsbury
Whittaker F., (2014) Exclusive: Functional skills handed lifeline. [Online] available at http://feweek.co.uk/2014/10/03/functional-skills-handed-lifeline/ (Accessed 4 January 2016)
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-maths-and-english-condition-of-funding (accessed December 2015)