Learners use bite-sized English and maths from NCFE to progress

Learners at Darlington College are progressing to new career paths and learning opportunities thanks to bite-sized English and maths from NCFE.

The Next Steps programme at Darlington College provides a supported learning environment for young people working towards post-16 qualifications and employment. The young people on the programme are working on their skills for independent living, going on to higher level courses, the workplace or volunteering roles. 

Sean Maguire, Programme Leader at Darlington College said: “I had worked with NCFE in previous roles over 15 years and I had always had a positive experience. Within our department, we had discussed how we could supplement our learners studies to help them gain valuable English and maths skills that would not only help them whilst they were with us, but also give them skills to use in their everyday lives.

We chose NCFE’s bite-sized units as they were relevant to our learners and they use real life examples, which allow learners to develop transferable skills.”

NCFE’s bite-sized units offer personal intervention for learners and allow for educators to target specific areas for development with short and manageable units. Completing each unit is a great way to boost confidence and engage them in education in a manageable way.

Sean said: “Offering NCFE’s bite-sized units has been particularly beneficial to many of our learners who have specific learning needs such as autism. Without essential skills in maths and English, our learners wouldn’t be able to easily progress in to work or on to further education. We’ve found that many learners have been able to go in to employment or further study in sectors such as catering, joinery and business and some have been able to live independently now that they are confident in skills others might take for granted like how to manage money.”

Darlington College originally delivered bite-sized English and maths as a supplement to other qualifications but now embed these units so they are part of an integrated programme of learning. 

Sean continued: “I would recommend NCFE to other centres who wish to build up the skills of their learners in a way that is manageable for the learner but also for the tutor, as the administration responsibilities are very low. We were especially grateful to our External Quality Assurer, Alison Warren, who offered fantastic support and guidance as it was a new qualification for our teaching staff. Alison helped our staff develop their own skills and delivery which is why it has been so effectively integrated into our programme.

Alison said: “It was a pleasure to work with Darlington College to support them in the delivery of bite-sized English and maths. The programme was well planned and delivered to meet learners’ needs and the use of everyday opportunities to develop skills and collect evidence made the qualifications realistic, accessible and achievable.”

To find out more about how you can offer personal intervention for your learners, visit our English and maths page or contact [email protected] to speak to one of our team.

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Matthew Burton
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Matthew Burton is the head teacher at Thornhill Community Academy in Dewsbury and appeared on Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire. Matthew has written for NCFE about making pivotal curriculum decisions on behalf of learners.