Project overview

This website aims to provide easy access to resources and case studies developed by an action research project in the Eastern Region funded by the Education and Training Foundation, managed regionally by ACER and nationally by Learning  Futures.

The project, which ran from November 2014 to September 2015, set out to increase the skills and confidence of staff to use digital technology to enhance the delivery of English and maths in traineeship and apprenticeship programmes. It built on the recommendations from an earlier programme, the Traineeship Staff Support Programme project which identified the need to explore how digital technology can be used more extensively to improve the quality of English and maths teaching.

There were six partner providers in the project:

  • Harlow College;
  • KEITS Training Services Ltd;
  • Cambridge Regional College;
  • Bedford College;
  • Essex Adult and Community Learning;
  • Cambridgeshire Adult Learning and Skills.

Each of our partner organisations identified two practitioners to participate in collaborative CPD, conduct action research and share the skills, knowledge and impact of their use of learning technologies in classroom or the workplace to enhance the teaching of maths and English.

The project also aimed to involve employers, managers and governors in working collaboratively across the partnership to ensure that solutions to technical or institutional barriers were prioritised, captured and used to inform learning technology strategic development and decision-making across the project group and the wider education and training sector.

Project resources

In the different sections of this multimedia website you will find a range of resources:

  • six case studies;
  • a guide to sixteen useful e learning tools for English and maths teaching;
  • links to exemplar digital resources created by practitioners;
  • a set of ‘how to’ videos;
  • links to open learning modules on video conferencing;
  • planning documents used by practitioners;
  • recordings of project webinars and resources from training workshops.

By clicking each of the tabs in the menu bar above you can read a brief summary of the resources contained within that section. To give you an authentic insight into the views and experiences of those involved, we have frequently included short clips from audio interviews with practitioners and learners at different stages of the project. (There are transcripts for all of the clips.) All the ‘how to’ videos are hosted on YouTube and have been subtitled.

Project team

MarkACER’s Learning Futures project team was led by Mark Barnsley, ACER’s Regional Projects Manager. Mark has a background in managing a number of successful regional projects focused on capacity building initial teacher education and CPD particularly in English and maths. He has 30 years of experience of working in the FE and Skills as a manager, consultant, trainer and a teacher. He co-ordinates ACER’s networks, leads the East of England Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training and is the Education & Training Foundation’s Regional Specialist Lead for SEND. Contact details:

Mark was supported by two project workers, Bob Read and Elaine Szpytma who worked closely with project practitioners as mentors. They also planned and delivered the sequence of monthly workshop days and webinars that made up the CPD programme for project partners.

Bob 2Bob Read has over twenty five years’ experience of English and maths support in schools, in FE and  ACL settings as well as in the workplace. He has worked for ACER as Training and Development Adviser for ten years, specialising in embedded approaches to English and maths, workplace programmes and the use of digital technology. He is the Foundation’s Regional Specialist Lead for English. On this project Bob worked with staff from Essex Adult Community Learning, KEITS Training Services Ltd and Cambridge Regional College. Contact details:

Elaine photo

Elaine Szyptma works for ACER as a teacher educator and a digital technology consultant. She is also an Advanced Teaching and Learning Coach. Elaine has worked on a variety of ACER projects featuring a digital technology element. She holds QTLS status and is a reviewer for the Society of Education and Training (previously IfL). On this project Elaine worked with staff from Bedford College, Harlow College and Cambridge Adult Learning and Skills. Contact details:

Chris cropped 2Chris Barlow works for Mactrac, an e-tutoring service provider operated by Digital Education which in turn is owned by Macmillan Publishers. Mactrac were commissioned to develop three online modules. Modules 1 & 2 aimed to introduce project practitioners to the skills and knowledge required to run 1:1 and group online tutorials, using free video conferencing software such as Skype and Google Hangouts. Module 3 was developed to support leaders, governors and managers in raising their awareness of their role in promoting the effective use of digital technology within their organisations. Contact details:

Jenny HuntJenny Hunt is a director of Schemeta Ltd ( and has over 30 years’ experience across a wide range of educational settings. She provides research, consultancy and training, specialising in literacy, Functional Skills English, self-assessment, developing and improving the quality of teaching and learning and coaching. She is an experienced teacher and has taught in the primary, secondary, further and adult education sectors. She has worked at senior management level in further education, adult education, the BBC and UfI (learndirect). She has developed a range of self-assessment toolkits including for the NHS and LSIS. The latest one is for further education and skills and is linked to the new Common Inspection Framework. She was an ALI inspector for five years and has just completed ten years as a governor of Bedford College where she was chair of their Quality and Standards Committee. For this project she contributed to the development of Module 3, an online module for Leaders, Managers and Governors, working in close collaboration with Chris Barlow (above). Contact details:

The website

This website was created by the project team to model the use of free and open source software in creating a multimedia web-based resource. The following tools were used:

If you would like to contact any of the practitioners from the six learning providers who took part in the project, please e mail Mark Barnsley who will forward your enquiry –