PBA in Oxford has been working with the Activate Learning team on a new project at City of Oxford College, Blackbird Leys campus (BBL). The scheme was supported by the Education and Training Foundation and University of Sunderland Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training.
BBL are piloting an iGCSE English module designed in partnership with PBA. This module is the focus of a research project investigating whether the involvement of employers in syllabus design for iGCSE English will help foster student motivation and engagement with the subject, and ultimately boost the development of their knowledge and skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
The project is called Oxfordshire 2030. The name reflects the UK’s very real need for new housing, and the current plan to develop 20,000-30,000 new homes by 2030. Students were set the task of working in teams to identify viable sites around Oxford for 2,000 of these dwellings. At the end of the project, the students would deliver their findings in the form of a persuasive report and a team presentation using supporting documents. This would then conclude in a discussion with ambassadors from PBA.
PBA has contributed to the design of the syllabus, highlighting the relevance of English skills for the world of work, meanwhile providing materials for the students to work with. PBA visited the college to introduce the project to students and has made regular visits to lessons to support the students as they develop their ideas. The project culminated in an award ceremony, with the efforts of the students recognised by PBA.
Activate Learning has been acknowledged for its innovative ways of working, including its endeavours to bring about change and improvement for students, and its commitment to celebrating the best and most innovative practice among colleges.
Activate Learning recently won awards for Practical Teaching and Learning, linked to curriculum design and employer engagement, and innovative use of Learning Technologies to support curriculum design and learning philosophy.
PBA is proud to work with such a forward-thinking educational body, and we believe the feeling is mutual. Recent feedback for PBA from Alex Warner - Director of Faculty: Technology:
‘Having the support of PBA throughout this project has been fantastic. We really are ‘pushing the boundaries’ of GCSE English and to have a bespoke project for our learners that was both subject (English) and vocationally relevant is unheard of. This was very much a pilot study, but having assessed the positive impacts, we hope to be able to roll out similar provision across the Faculty (circa 1200 students). Not only have the learners been able to develop English skill, but their subject knowledge has improved in addition to employability skills. For example, attendance and punctuality have improved, learners’ confidence levels have gotten better and the levels of professionalism shown throughout really illustrates the ‘soft skills’ being enhanced. We are truly grateful for all the hard work from the team at PBA.’