From education to employment

Plymouth Hosts Regional Teaching Innovation Conference for English & Maths Skills Development

The MultiPlex Conference, a collaboration between City College Plymouth and Exeter College, was held at Plymouth Argyle Football Club on Monday 4 December. Participants from across the region attended the event which focused on innovative approaches to teaching English and maths.

This year’s MultiPlex Conference focused on delivering maths mastery, new ways of engaging learners, and examining what makes a ‘good teacher’ through presentations, workshops and interactive discussion forums.

Keynote speakers included Emma Bell, Director for Post-16 GCSE/FSQ at NCETM (The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics); Julie Hughes, subject specialist for Edexcel, which provides GCSE courses internationally; and Jonny Kay, published author and Lead English Expert for the AQA examinations board.

Attendees, primarily teachers engaging as part of their scheduled continual professional development (CPD) days, were able to explore innovative approaches to learning, including the use of virtual reality to teach creative writing, and how to overcome common classroom anxieties. The aim of the day was to provide an adaptive toolkit to teachers who are tasked with guiding both Devon and Cornwall’s young people and adult learners through their maths and English examinations.

City College Plymouth celebrated a record pass rate for their GCSE maths and English students this year, and embeds the necessary core skills across their varied curriculum. This, explains the College’s Chief Executive, Jackie Grubb, is just one way in which they encourage students to make the link between critical numeracy and literacy skills and their chosen career path.

“We often think of maths and English existing in a vacuum and it can be hard for students to see the relevance or even the necessity in applying themselves in these subjects,” Jackie explained. “But this conference has demonstrated the many exciting and innovative ways in which teachers can approach these core subjects to really engage with their learners.

“Good English and maths skills are repeatedly cited by employers across our region’s industries as essential for both new employees and those seeking to progress in their careers. By providing this forum for teachers to discuss and develop how their students can better approach learning, we are working together to support the core skills which underpin almost every aspect of our region’s workforce.” 

Exeter College also celebrated pass rates well-ahead of national averages. John Laramy CBE, Principal & CEO of Exeter College, spoke of the event: “The skills that open the most doors in life are maths and English. We are delighted to be working in collaboration with City College Plymouth to share ideas, concepts and approaches which we hope, overtime, will help more young people to gain these essential life skills. These skills can genuinely change someone’s life and open doors to opportunities that allow young people to follow their dreams and realise their ambitions.”

Throughout the academic year, MultiPlex brings together subject experts to support teaching across the region through a series of CPD workshops, virtual events and digital resources. Further information can be found here.

Those interested in studying English and maths are encouraged to contact either City College Plymouth or Exeter College, who provide a range of GCSE and core skills certifications for school-age learners and those revisiting their qualifications or looking to upskill later in life.

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