Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsHello, my name is Helen Bilton, and I'm Professor of Outdoor Learning at the University of Reading. Welcome to this course, Supporting Successful Learning in Secondary Schools. Over the next four weeks, we'll be looking at four topics, bias in the classroom, how children learn, the environment for learning, and communication and language. And I'll be supported by experts in schools and at University. Education is complex. This course is designed to unpick that complexity, sometimes challenge your thinking, and enthuse you about children's learning.

Welcome to the course

Hello and a warm welcome to ‘Supporting Successful Learning in Secondary School’, a four week course produced by the Institute of Education at the University of Reading.

This course will provide expert guidance for support staff working in schools and give you the opportunity to upskill yourself, giving you the knowledge and confidence to work more effectively in supporting and teaching students. You’ll explore teaching methods and pedagogies that are used in the classroom to help you better understand and work with teachers and schools who employ these techniques.

You’ll also be looking at and challenging the ways in which students are currently supported. You’ll uncover and discuss old and new ideas, as well as sharing examples of best practice with one another. We want you to make the most out of this course and there are a number of activities for you to take part in which include videos, quizzes, articles and discussions. We also provide you with practical exercises which we encourage you to take part in and share your experiences back with your fellow learners.

The course consists of four weeks with each one focusing on a particular area of interest:

  • Week 1: You and others
  • Week 2: How people learn
  • Week 3:The environment for learning
  • Week 4:: Communication and language

By the end of the course we hope you’ll be able to demonstrate knowledge and confidence to work more effectively in supporting and teaching at secondary level, apply the course as a tool for teaching and classroom support and demonstrate an understanding of the advice available.

The course team

Through the first four weeks of the course you’ll have a team of experts who will guide you through the course and be on hand to help support the discussions. Meet:

Helen Bilton your lead educator. Helen is Professor of Outdoor Learning, Director of Postgraduate Taught programmes and School Director of Academic Tutoring at the University of Reading. Helen has over 35 years of experience in teacher training and education, and support staff training.

Helen will be joined by course mentors James Irving, Head of Chemistry at a secondary school with 15 years of teaching experience and Simon Fox, part-time Postgraduate student and secondary school teacher, also with 15 years of teaching experience.

The team will aim to answer your queries where they can but please bear in mind, they will not be able to respond to every post. Don’t let that stop you from asking questions and sharing your experiences though, as you may find that together with other learners, you may be able to help one another out.

To view comments made by Helen and her team, click on their name to visit their profile page and click the ‘Follow’ button. Any comment made will then appear in your activity feed which you can filter by ‘Following’.


If you missed the chance to introduce yourself in the Welcome Area, why not tell us who you are and what you’re hoping to gain from the course in the comments area below?

If you find talking online a daunting prospect but would like to give it a try, you may find it helpful to start off in a small way. If you see a comment you agree with or find interesting, you can let the other learner know by clicking the ‘Like’ button. Hopefully this will help build your confidence and once you feel more comfortable, you can move on to replying directly to a comment you find interesting.

The Institute of Education (IoE)

The IoE is ranked 8th in the UK for Education (The Guardian University League Table 2019) and have been consistently in the top 10 for over a decade.

Our staff are experienced and highly-skilled teachers and researchers who come from the sector. We work to inspire our students to become reflective, engaged and active citizens, with the resilience and confidence to tackle challenges and shape lives.

Locally, we have well-established partnerships with over 400 schools. Globally, our research, consultancy and other projects extend to countries as varied as China, Jamaica, the USA and Singapore.

For the latest news and information about the IoE, you can follow their Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Our course tip

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Supporting Successful Learning in Secondary School

University of Reading