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Engaging learners in GCSE maths and English

Principal focus of the project

The focus of the research was to build upon and extend the evidence base for supporting ETF in developing the FE workforce and increase the number of learners achieving Level 2 maths and English. The research captured learner perspectives, specifically attitudes towards maths and English, and their feelings about further improvements to the effectiveness of support for these subjects.

What is this about and what were the main findings?

The researchers concluded that learners responded well to high quality practical and interactive teaching methods relating to real life situations. They responded best to teachers with strong behaviour management skills, who are supporting and approachable and who respect and view these learners as young adults. The learners within the research gave mixed reponses about the quality and availability of support at their school. Where their experiences were negative, large class sizes were identified as a main reason. Peer support was also found to have both positive and negative impacts on maths and English learning depending on how it was managed; strong behaviour managements skills were important in counteracting negatives, and establishing a strong classroom culture of peer supported learning was identified as a key factor in success

Number of participants who worked with the project
Name(s) of authors

Charlotte Robey - National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE)


A research report by a sector organisation (National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education (NIACE)) which chose to pursue its goals through practitioner research. The focus was an investigation of the reasons behind school leavers not achieving A*- C grades in maths and/or English in order to inform sector suport for maths and English.

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