Post-16 education

We have extensive experience and expertise in the post-16 sector, including colleges, adult education, WBL, offender learning and universities, and can provide a wide range of services, not all of which are listed here. We have worked with organisations in the areas of leadership and management, quality improvement and curriculum. Where we feel we can add particular value is in four broad areas

  1. Engagement – both student and staff engagement
  2. In and around the curriculum particularly in
    • Teaching and learning for a positive future – enhancing students' chances for positive short and long-term student outcomes
    • Harnessing the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning
    • Lesson observation and beyond
    • Equality and diversity in the curriculum
  3. Facilitating transformative change
    • Strategic thinking
    • Team building and development
    • Organisational sustainability journey
    • Productive meetings that engage
    • Facilitating conversations that matter

Many of our support packages and programmes are tailor-made for specific clients so please get in touch if you don't see what you need.

A selection of our key programmes

Student engagement/student voice

Student engagement 3

Student engagement is important for two key reasons, which are intricately related. Engaging students will mean that they become better prepared for the life ahead of them and the multiple and complex challenges the future will inevitably throw at them. Instead of meeting these challenges as passive consumers student engagement prepares them to be citizens, producers and change agents by not only giving them the opportunity to get their voices heard and influence the present but by participating in student engagement activities they will also acquire transferable skills such as working collaboratively, creative problem solving, futures thinking and dealing with complexity and ambiguity to name just a few. Moreover it will also create a richer and more rewarding educational experience when students' are seen as partners and their views contribute to shaping the organisation's, whether university, college or school, continuous improvement journey and business plans.

We know that organisations already use mechanisms such as satisfaction surveys, student councils and focus groups. The tools we use do not intend to compete with existing mechanisms but instead bring about richer and fuller engagement which results in real benefits to the organisation and full return on expectation.

We are the first UK organisation offering Student Wisdom Councils and Student Creative Insight Councils.  These approaches are already successfully employed with youth, citizens and employees in many countries.  

Students at Barnsley College talking about a Student Listening Circle

The Learner Voice Advisor at Barnsley College

Simple guide to Wisdom Councils

Teaching and learning for a positive future – enhancing students' chances for positive short and long-term student outcomes

Social, environmental, economic and technological changes make it clear that the future students will inhabit and encounter will be significantly different from the past as we knew it. The World Economic Forum has recently identified the 10 key challenges and trends for 2015 including deepening income inequality, persistent jobless growth, lack of leadership, weakening of representative democracy and increasing occurrence of severe weather events. To prepare students for the present job market is necessary but insufficient if we want them to learn to navigate the complex challenges of the future and to become active change agents and global citizens in a world that will need to find new solutions to things such as food production, democracy, housing, transport, work, health, education and energy. To do so students need to have an understanding of things such as sustainability, ecosystems, climate change, alternative economic models, resilience and disaster risk reduction as well as democracy and power. They need to have transferrable competences such collaborative working, systems thinking, critical and creative thinking, futures thinking and ethics for instance to create meaningful change whether as citizens, parents, entrepreneurs, interpreneurs and employees.

Our work is based on research such as the LSIS report on Embedding Sustainability into Teaching, Learning and the Curriculum, 2013 by Gewessler and Norris as well as the Education for Sustainable Development Guidance published in 2014 by QAA/HEA.

We provide training, consultancy and research in this area to support organisations.
Examples of what we provide include
  • Generic and specialist workshops on 'Embedding sustainability into teaching, learning and the curriculum"
  • Engaging students with sustainability workshops (for students)
  • Becoming a change agent (for students)
  • Student council facilitation training

Harnessing the potential of digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning

Technology is evolving at an ever-faster rate and is here to stay. Different from other workshops focusing on technologies we focus on how they can best be used to improve outcomes for learners. We do this by building on research on effective learning, teaching and assessments by the likes of John Hattie, Dylan William and Frank Coffield. We will explore both how technology can be used in the classroom but also how it can support tutors to create an effective flipped classroom where some of the content transfer happens through work at home, so that the in-class time can be used for more creative and effective group discussions, co-operative learning and critical thinking activities.

Depending on the length of time available we can tailor a workshop which can range from half a day to three days and select a range of tools to meet the needs of the organisation. Check out some of the tools we like to explore in our workshops.

Lesson observation and beyond

Lesson observation only is an effective quality improvement tool if the lesson observation process itself is fit for purpose and if there is effective follow-up of actions in terms of then providing training, opportunities for coaching and mentoring as well as peer reflection. It is important that effective practice gets shared with others in a way that goes beyond sharing handouts and lesson plans on a learning platform and involves at looking at intentions and strategies that tutors use which make them effective. It is also important that areas of improvement are followed up in a meaningful way. Research by Joyce and Showers, 2002, shows clearly that staff development alone is not sufficient. In addition to new knowledge being conveyed, staff need to experience new approaches being modelled and they require to have the opportunity to implement their learning by experimenting in the classroom as well as an opportunity for peer coaching. Only when all of these components are fulfilled will the staff development impact on teaching practice and student outcomes.

We provide support and training on
  • Effective lesson observation observation schemes which focus on the elements of tutor self-reflection and effective feedback as well as on writing comprehensive lesson observation reports which support tutors in their self-reflection
  • The key findings of Joyce and Showers and their impact on staff development programmes
  • Coaching skills
  • Running effective action learning sets to enable effective peer coaching

Equality and diversity in the curriculum

In an increasingly diverse society, promoting the benefits of diversity, ensuring equality of opportunity and challenging discrimination make perfect sense.

Equality and diversity in the classroom is more than ensuring resources represent our diverse society, providing effective learner support and upholding the law with regard to equality legislation, it also involves how we can close the achievement gap between students through promoting a growth mindset vs a fixed minset, building on the research of Dr Carol Dweck and using effective teaching and learning approaches which enhance student outcomes.