Personalised Study Programmes – Skills for Progression

What is Meant by Skills for Progression?

Skills which enable students to retain employment or be successful in further study

We have categorised them as:

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Teamwork

4. Self Management

5. Commercial Awareness

assess study skills

Linkages with 2015 CIF

  • Staff gather a useful range of accurate assessment information and use this to give learners incisive feedback about what they can do to improve their skills.
  • Staff set work that consolidates learning, deepens understanding and develops skills, and prepares learners very well for their next steps.
  • Learners are prepared for the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training.
  • Learners make substantial and sustained progress from their different starting points.
  • Learners are exceptionally well-prepared for the next stage of their education, training or employment and have attained relevant qualifications, skills, knowledge and understanding.

(Ofsted, 2015)

Resources – Designed and provided by University of Portsmouth

Commercial Awareness Lesson Pack:

LessonPlan-Commercial Awareness

Case Studies

Cost of Poor Customer Service Activity Sheet

Cost of Poor Customer Service-Answer Sheet

Logos Quiz Extension

Logos Quiz Extension-Answer Sheet

Logos Quiz

Logos Quiz-Answer Sheet

Communication Lesson Pack:


Communication Activity Sheet

Communication Answer Sheet

Reflecting on the Week Activity Sheet

Weighing It All Up Starter Activity

Problem Solving Lesson Pack:

LessonPlan-Problem Solving

Being Creative Activity Sheet

What’s the Lesson About Crossword

What’s the Lesson About Crossword-Answer Sheet

What’s the Lesson About Word Search

What’s the Lesson About Word Search-Answer Sheet

Self-Management Lesson Pack:

LessonPlan-Self Management

Managing Ourselves PPT

Weekly Planner Activity Sheet

Weekly Planner Template

Teamwork Lesson Pack:


Community Matters Quiz – Starter Activity

Quiz – Answer Sheet

Self Reflection Tweet Sheet

Community Matters Activity

Marking Criteria and User guide:


Marking Criteria Overall

Marking Criteria Commercial Awareness

Marking Criteria Communication

Marking Criteria Problem-Solving

Marking Criteria Self-Management

Marking Criteria Teamwork


Innovative Learning Technologies (with nothing to be scared of!)


Learning Futures – E-learning Delivery ‘How to implement blended learning’

Learning Futures – Design and Create Videos for Learning

Learning Futures – Gamification ‘Making something serious, fun’

Learning Futures – Online Badging ‘explore how badges have been used to set goals, motivate behaviour, represent achievement and communicate success in the education and training sector’

Learning Futures – Line of Sight to Work ‘Engaging with employers to shape the curriculum’

Learning Futures – Instructional Design “instructional experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective and appealing” (Merril 1996).

Learning Futures – Screencasting ‘how screencasts can be used to deliver learning, explore some examples of effective practice, and get some tips on how to get the best out of using screencasts’

Learning Futures – Project Management ‘the effective use of project management skills has a significant influence on the achievement of goals and quality of project outcomes’


Embedding English – Activities

Lightbulb Moment – Embedding English – 4 Fun ways with vocabulary and terminology

I recently read a blog by Joanne Miles Consulting (  with all sorts of good ideas about how a simple vocabulary box could be used to embed English during a recap session or as a resource for revision exercises or for differentiated practice activities for early finishers.

A bank of word cards is built up session by session so that the class has access to key words from a range of topics delivered at different points in the learning programme.

Some teachers write one word per card, some put the word on one side and the definition/example on the other side, some put the word on one side and a picture on the other. Ideally the learners should be involved in the creation of the cards in the first place.

  1. Quick recap exercise (differentiated version)

Strong students: in pairs they take 10 words from the box. One student defines the word without saying it and the other has to guess the word being described.

Weaker students: in pairs they take 8 words from the box. One student shows the other a word and asks him /her to explain/draw/mime the word.

  1. Walls Exercise

Put 10 or 12 words from the box on the walls and students can walk round in pairs trying to explain the words and make an example sentence or give a definition. In feedback the teacher can explain words and get the students to guess which word is being described. This can be done as a competitive team game/quiz too.

  1. Word Grab

Students work in groups of 3, with a lot of the words laid out on the table face up. One student explains a word and the other two compete to grab the right word. The student with the most words at the end is the winner. The piles of words can stay on each table and the students can move from table to table until all piles have been covered.

  1. Noughts and Crosses

Grid on the board and class in 2 teams. For each numbered space the teacher pulls a word from the box and gets the relevant team to explain it and give an example sentence or definition. If the student/team do this correctly, they can put a cross or a nought in that square. This can be played in groups with a student in the role of teacher.

For more ideas, CPD, videos and blogs visit


Dear Jerrelle…

Dear coach…     

This month: Maths

A question box was placed in the staff room and staff members anonymously submitted questions they had about teaching and learning.

  1. How can I set targets beyond pass/fail in FS skills?

Firstly, no learners should be targeted to fail. All learners should be targeted to pass their course but the dates at which they are expected to pass will depend on their exam dates. Therefore, to make this “pass” target smarter, give a date by which they are expected to pass. Beyond this, each learner will be at different points within their ability in the course. They will likely each need to build different skills in order to pass their course, meaning, targets should be set regarding these skills the learners need to build. For example, if a learner has a strong ability in addition and subtraction but requires improvement within fractions, their target could be based on that. Another way of setting them targets beyond “pass” could be to allow the learners to set them for themselves. This could be fortnightly or termly so they themselves could reflect upon whether they have met them or not and why.

  1. I sometimes feel I lack imagination to deliver innovative lessons. This is genuinely an issue, particularly with IT. Can you advise?

Bringing different resources and activities into the classroom is always trial and error. Some things will work with some classes but then be a disaster with others. We mustn’t let this put us off though. Of course, it cannot be said what may work for your particular class but here are a few links and directions: – This site gives you a blank board which learners can click on and write on when given the link to the board. It is live, so if all learners have it up on their screens, they can see what each one types. You could potentially put math problems on there and direct them at particular learners (assign questions using the group profile to plan which questions go to which student). This is also a great tool for peer review. – This site gives you and learners the ability to make an engaging storyboard. You can add backgrounds, characters and text etc. This could be a way of making a worksheet more engaging for learners or learners could develop their own maths questions using this.

Time is always an issue, but it is worth having a shop around on the internet and playing with different tools and resources to find ones that suit you and your class.

Next month: English


My Self Assessment

By Drew Howard

After completing the recent Gold Standard Programme Review for Teaching, Learning and Assessment, I reflected on a session that I participated in back in December delivered by Rob Davis to his Extended Diploma L2A group.  I then thought more critically about myself and my own group’s performance when completing this review as I felt that my own teaching needs an injection of more fun, innovative and enjoyable activities introduced into every session.

The only reason that I attended that session was because Rob was gathering resources one day and I provided him with my camping stove and kettle. I enquired as to why he needed them and his response was “we need to investigate gas laws, carry out various experiments and decide whether or not we agree with Boyle, Charles and Lussac”.

When Rob turned up the next day with candles, jars, empty cans, balloons, inner tubes, plastic cups, trays to hold water and a large bag of ice that he stored in the supported learning café’s freezer overnight, I said to myself,  “I must see this”.

The 2 hour session took place in T202… this is NOT a science lab but became one very soon after the start of the session.

After covering the routine professional standards to introduce a session, Rob highlighted several Health and Safety concerns and what provision he has made to reduce any risks, he finished this intro by saying “protect yourself at all times”.


His enthusiasm and positivity made us feel at ease and excited at what was to come.

It was obvious that careful planning of the session had been considered as Rob arranged the learners into 3 groups and identified high achieving Science and Maths learners in each group. Each group was provided with a laptop and informed of which law to research and prove its accuracy. We were all given a link to a video on you tube to visit in the first instance, as each team were viewing the video, Rob was placing various resources in the middle of each groups table and suggested some tips on how to use the equipment safely. He linked the Law’s very nicely to what happens during combustion inside an engine. The place was a hive of activity for the next two hours.

The recent Gold Standards Programme Review makes us look at our planning, group profile, assessment, e-resources, innovative use of diverse range of resources, independent learning, fun activities, problem solving, team work and peer learning.

This session had the full works and “mad professor Rob Davis” can congratulate himself and grade most criteria Outstanding!

Many thanks for allowing me take part in this session Rob, try not to cause any explosions in future sessions!


Involving Students in The Learning Process

By Vernon Kearl

I have recently had the opportunity to attend a few sessions on the topical subject of ‘growth mind-set’ quite obviously the subject itself generated a very interesting discussion in the staff room! The fallout from this discussion resulted in one simple question – how do we get our students involved in their own learning?

One way is to develop a series of strategies to support the teaching and learning and promote a ‘can do’ ethos in the learning environment, these strategies should be designed to give the student ownership and involvement in the learning process.


In order to achieve this there a 5 things to consider:

Remove the fear of failing.

During a recent teaching session on the key influences to an individual’s learning, one of the students made a comment that one of the biggest problems that she faced was the pressure to succeed and the fear of failing. Is it wrong to fail? Surely one of the key aspects of development is learning from our failings? Take a teaching approach that removes the fear of failing in the classroom and promotes the opportunity for students to try something new and experiment with their learning?


Try to give feedback straight away, if they get something wrong show them why, there is no need to wait to the end of the assignment as it will be too late to make changes. Ensure that the feedback is constructive and provides opportunities to improve, immediate feedback will allow you to assess the impact towards learning sometimes in the same day. Good feedback develops confidence. We know how to raise a cause for concern but how often do we celebrate success?  Praise goes a long way to build confidence, but be unique every student has different strengths and capabilities and these need to be recognised. Reward attitude as well as aptitude.

Set Manageable goals.

Teach the students how to set their own goals – Be realistic! They have to be able to achieve them, use the goals as a means of keeping them on track rather than a means to measure success.

Remove barriers and negative beliefs.

Students are under immense pressure to succeed and there is a constant fear of failure, in addition some learners will lack motivation and a commitment to learn. During a tutorial discuss the negative thoughts that they may have, we have all heard the “I can’t do this because” – “I didn’t have time, I don’t know how to”.  Invest time in challenging their mind-set, support them in identifying the problems and involve them in overcoming them.

Student Voice

Listen to the students and act on concerns. Provide the students with an opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions, using a debate or discussion is an excellent instrument to teach students how to disagree and challenge viewpoints respectfully.

Differentiation – a quick guide

By Rachael Ellard

Strategies for Differentiation

The Training and Development Agency for Schools describe differentiation as ‘the process by which differences between learners are accommodated so that all students in a group have the best possible chance of learning’. But what does this mean that we as tutors need to be doing in reality?

Here are some of the basic methods of differentiation and some best practice from my peers:

Differentiation by Task

This means setting different tasks for different students based on ability. For example if you have different topics that need to be researched, the topics can be allocated based on the level of difficulty (some topics may require more advanced research skills or a better understanding of the subject) with more challenging topics allocated to the most capable students. For example in an Aquatics lesson, learners in small groups were given different body systems of fish to research, with the more challenging systems given to the more capable learners.

Differentiation by Pace

Some students will progress through work faster than others, rather than be left waiting with no work to do. Try building in extension activities or have a “bank” of additional questions/tasks that they can work on to develop their understanding further. For example on Level 1 and 2 Animal Care, students are set an “Extended Project” which they can work on whenever they have completed existing work which develops their independent learning skills and prepares them for progression.

Differentiation by Group

Dividing the class into small mixed ability groups, gives you further opportunity for differentiation. Different roles can be allocated within the group; for example allocating a team leader, which may be a more capable and confident student, allows them to develop their leadership and organisational skills. For example during a debate in a Wildlife Rehabilitation lesson the team leaders were responsible for ensuring the views of everyone in the group were heard and for collating the different viewpoints to feedback to the class.

Differentiation by Outcome

Using this method all students undertake the same task but achieve it at differing levels. For example in an Animal Biology lesson students were tasked with making an animal cell out of sweets. They then voted as a group for the best cell – all students worked to produce the cell but some groups made more detailed cells and were able to explain it in greater depth.


Progress at Level 3

By Karen Simmons

When I dropped in to an Early Years level 3 class recently, I noticed how the students were taking responsibility for their own learning and work completion. The Tutor had come up with an idea of how the students can decide for themselves how they would plan their lesson time to get whatever work completed that is necessary.

progress chart

During lessons, after taught input and where students are completing assessments, the students are asked to decide for themselves how they will spend their time and record this on the chart shown. This encourages students to focus on the task they have targeted for completion and the Tutor can see what the student’s intentions are and can check progress accordingly.  When the students complete the task they erase it from the chart and plan the next task that needs completing.  The students not only record what work they are completing but where they will be completing the work e.g. LRC.  The task completion is checked by the tutor on their return and again the chart is changed according to the next task that needs to be completed or worked towards.

I noticed how the students used this resource in a mature manner without resenting having to record their actions within the class/college. On asking the tutor how she found this chart is working she felt that it empowered the students to take responsibility in a mature and adult manner which is exactly the behaviour I witnessed for the time I spent in the classroom. The tutor can also continually track what the students are working on as well.

This idea is being used with two level 3 classes with a small amount of students in each class which perhaps means it is more achievable.  This idea may not work for lower level classes or where classes have a larger number of students and may need to be adapted to suit the class.  However this approach is certainly worthy of further consideration by tutors.