Boosting Maths and Literacy Skills (including GCSE retakes) 16-19 | Lighthouse Professional Development

Boosting Maths and Literacy Skills (including GCSE retakes) 16-19

Course code: 

The government requires that 95% of 16-19 year-olds who do not have grade C in English and Maths continue to study these subjects. Effective teaching for these students, many of whom have special educational needs, has therefore become a matter of urgency. This course will provide practical guidance on enabling students to improve their performance in these key subjects. It will focus on the needs of students as individuals, as well as on the adjustments that need to be made to tackle learning difficulties, and will give colleagues practical ways of helping them. It is not intended for teachers of students whose special needs are categorised as severe or profound, but is particularly relevant to teachers of students assessed as dyslexic, or dyscalculic.

Topics will include:

  • Evidence from brain research and its implications for teaching, including the work of Eric Kandel, Nobel Prize winner
  • Special Educational Needs and their consequences - Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Sensitivity to Light, the Autistic Spectrum, problems with numeracy and calculation
  • Assessing students’ work, getting to the thinking behind weaknesses, and positively adjusting it
  • Effective teaching of Spelling, Grammar and Handwriting in the context of GCSE English
  • Effective teaching of Numeracy, including Arithmetic and its application
  • Assessment and feedback

Course members are invited to prepare by writing an informal assessment of the special needs of one of their students, and making an initial note of the teaching that the student most needs. Members are encouraged to raise points from these assessments during the course, and they will be considered in detail during the afternoon session. The course leader will provide follow-up to members on request, pro bono publico.

Who should attend?
The course will be of help to Heads of Sixth Form, SENCOs, Teachers and Lecturers in English, including Heads of Department, Mathematics Teachers who have particular interests in Special Educational Needs, as well as Teaching Assistants.


9:30 Arrival, registration and coffee 13:00 Restaurant Lunch
10:00 What Brain Research tells us about Teaching and Learning.
  • How this applies to teaching English and Maths to 16-19 year-olds.
  • The impact of special educational needs including dyslexia, dyspraxia, visual stress, the autistic spectrum and moderate general learning difficulties. Making sense of psychologists’ and other specialists’ reports.
  • Assessing individual needs; understanding errors and their causes, and matching teaching techniques to them.
13:45 Practical Teaching Techniques: Maths.
  • What is holding students up? How do we enable them to adjust their thinking so that they can succeed?
  • Topics will include Brain Research and Learning Maths, and Progression from Arithmetic to Algebra and Geometry.
11:15 Coffee 14.30 Discussion of course members’ assessments and their implications.
  • Designing an effective policy for your institution.
11:30 Practical Teaching Techniques: English
  • Spelling, grammar and handwriting. How English Spelling came to be as it is.
  • Teaching technique: “Slimmed Down Spelling”
  • Practical and understandable approaches to grammar.
  • Improving handwriting using French lined paper. Building fluency in writing.
15:45 Evaluation and close of course


John has been involved in literacy teaching for many years, ever since he found that an 11 year old - who had truanted from his class - couldn’t read. He has since reviewed Literacy research for the Times Education Supplement and spent 10 years in charge of a reading and language development centre. John has led a series of seminars for the Reading Association’s annual conference and contributed regularly to Dyslexia Action conferences for teachers and psychologists.

He is a registered Ofsted inspector and his first book, The Literacy File, was joint winner of the Donald Moyle Award. He aims to help pupils adjust their thinking to make a significant impact and follows this up with simple and enjoyable activities that help pupils tune into the way print works in English. John also offers follow up support to attendees of this course, pro bono publico, via the internet or in person.

Suitable for: 
Senior/Secondary, Special Schools, Post 16/FE Colleges
Scheduled Events, In-school Training

Lighthouse Professional Development

CPD Event Booking Form

Please return the completed form to us at:

Lighthouse Professional Development
Suite 3, 163 Marine Parade
Course Details
Attendee Details
School / College Details
Person Authorising The Booking

Please indicate that you have read, and agree to, our Terms and Conditions by placing a tick the box provided.
(The Terms and Conditions are available to view on the website, or by contacting us directly.)

If you have not yet read the Terms and Conditions, you can find them here: Terms and Conditions
Back to top

Our address

Lighthouse Courses Ltd

Gemini House
136-140 Old Shoreham Road
East Sussex

Contact us

Contact details for Lighthouse Courses

Tel: 0800 587 8880