We are delighted to announce that this week we have launched a pilot Level 2 Functional Skills tuition programme targeting learners who are planning to complete or progress onto an apprenticeship who don’t yet have the required qualifications in English and/or maths. In this blog post, our Curriculum Manager, Ed Noon, dives into the details of this collaboration with London South Bank University and the bespoke curriculum that this new programme will use.
Upon joining Get Further back in August, I was excited to learn that we would be launching a pilot programme to support students planning to start an apprenticeship course to gain their Functional Skills Level 2 Maths and English qualifications before they start.
We know that, nationally, significant numbers of learners are unable to progress onto apprenticeships because they have not yet secured a Level 2 qualification in English and/or maths. Moreover, many become stuck or even drop out of their apprenticeship entirely because they don’t have the qualifications needed to complete it.
Difficulty gaining a Level 2 qualification alongside an apprenticeships course, amongst other factors, means that between 2019-21, half of all apprentices withdrew from their course and did not complete the qualification (DfE, 2022), whilst providers have lost over £1.8bn in potential earnings over the past four academic years due to apprentice withdrawals (DfE, 2023). We like a challenge at Get Further, so the curriculum team have been working with dedication over the past few months to design and develop a pre-apprenticeships programme which will resolve this issue.
How will the programme work?
The pilot is taking place in partnership with London South Bank University group (LSBU) and will run from January to July 2024. We will be working with a cohort 60 adult learners, offering 48-hours of small-group tuition and approximately 10-hours of independent study tasks to each.
The programme will be delivered by highly-qualified tutors, who have been trained by our team of expert teachers to impactfully deliver the course. This training includes an introduction to our principles of effective pedagogy – atomisation, effective sequencing, powerful worked examples, and purposeful practice. We also zoom in on modelling, questioning and effective feedback.
We will invite apprenticeship course leaders to complete a motivational drop-in mid-course to boost students’ enthusiasm and determination to succeed and gain a place on their chosen course.
What are our principles and methods?
All the curriculum development work we do at Get Further is underpinned by eight research-informed pedagogical principles. When developing the scheme of work and resources for our Apprenticeships Programme, our curriculum team thought carefully about chunking concepts into manageable sections, sequencing concepts so foundations are mastered before more complex content is built on top. We have provided lots of worked examples, which tutors will work on in partnership with students before offering plenty of opportunity for independent practice. Every session begins and ends with spaced retrieval practice in the form of recap and review to ensure we interrupt the forgetting process and embed key concepts and knowledge which underpins the content still to come in the course.
How did we design and develop resources?
Designing and developing a curriculum from scratch is an enthralling challenge. We have consulted with experts in the Functional Skills qualification, read up on the exam board’s specifications, assessment materials and examiner reports, and we have thought carefully about our knowledge of cognitive load theory (first developed by John Sweller) to give students the best support possible making them most likely to succeed. We have also worked with external consultants who have scrutinised and offered feedback on our resources and trialled some of them with our existing students and tutors.
How will we measure success?
Every student will complete a pre-course, mid-course and post-course check-in quiz, giving us insights about students’ progress. Students who are progressing quickly will have the opportunity to sit the full Level 2 set of papers half-way through the course. Tutors will keep detailed records of students’ progress and areas for development to allow specific actionable feedback tailored to each individual. As well as helping students to identify what and how they need to practise, this will allow us to further develop and improve the programme for future cohorts. Throughout, we will update London South Bank on the progress of their students. Once the pilot concludes, we will identify the most effective delivery methods and the most essential content to teach.
What are our plans for expansion?
Now that our pilot programme has launched, we are looking forward to working with other providers and employers to deliver bespoke programmes that addresses key challenges faced by current and prospective apprentices across the country.
If you would like to find out more about the programme, please contact Annabel.Richardson@getfurther.org.uk or fill out the form found at the bottom of this page. You can also stay up to date with the progress of this pilot and our other projects by following us on LinkedIn.