Presentations (please click on the links to access the presentations)

Speaker Position and Institution Presentation Title Date of the original presentation
Mark Henebury Sector Specialist, ELT, Department for International Trade What is English for Specific Purposes 18 February 2022
Dr Johanna Motteram Assessment Solutions Project Manager, British Council Needs analysis and understanding current levels 18 February 2022
Andrea Hales Director English, British Council Creating sustainable and measurable English language learning outcomes for busy civil servants 18 February 2022
Crispin Tucker Managing Director, Professional Language Solutions Ltd Effective planning for large-scale language training programmes for government departments 18 February 2022
Faeza Afzal Head of Sales, The London School of English Developing beyond core competencies for professional language proficiency  18 February 2022
Cherry Silcock-Stone Business Development Manager, Concorde International Concorde’s experience in the field with reference to case studies 18 February 2022
Sandie Warren Senior Tutor and Senior CELTA trainer, Concorde International Cultural misunderstandings and politeness strategies 18 February 2022
Rachel Rowland Academic Manager, Concorde International The reasons why critical thinking should be considered when planning as ESP course 18 February 2022
Christopher Ng Operations Director, Civil Service College Civil service language: embedding English language learning in civil servants’ professional development journey 18 February 2022


Key Recommendations ​​​​​​​

Mark Henebury, Sector Specialist, ELT, Department for International Trade

  • There are consistent characteristics and common variable features of what constitutes English for Specific Purposes (ESP) but no agreed definition.
  • ESP is an umbrella term that includes English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) and English +
  • English for Occupational Purposes can be categorised by Sector and Specialism, and focus on both macro and micro professional skills.


Dr Johanna Motteram, Assessment Solutions, Project Manager, British Council

  • It is important to understand the Civil Servants’ starting points by conducting a baseline assessment. 
  • We need to know what quantity and quality of language Civil Servants need to complete their jobs at different levels. We can find this out through a job analysis. We can use the job analysis to develop standards which describe the language needed for different jobs at different levels. 
  • When learners know where they are starting from and what they need to learn, it is easier for them and their teachers to stay focused and motivated. We can combine the information from the baseline and the job analysis to develop individualised learning plans to support students to move through levels. Once we have those, we can monitor improvement, revise plans as necessary and celebrate success. 


Andrea Hales, Director English, British Council 

Countries that have had the most success are those where the various ministries and civil service departments have:

  • made a real commitment to the English learning of their civil servants over many years. There is no quick fix if real English learning progress is to be made. There needs to be a long term commitment to learning success.
  • made a real commitment to the learning of their civil servants by recognising that time needs to be given to civil servants to engage in their learning during the working week.
  • created opportunities internally for civil servants to communicate in English in a low stress and engaging way through, for example, English Networking Events.


Crispin Tucker, Managing Director, Professional Language Solutions Ltd

  • Separate areas of provision with conflicts of interest – eg training and assessment
  • Create a supply chain that is small enough to collaborate but big enough to cover all needs
  • Make KPIs realistic and achievable for all stakeholders – ie students and suppliers – positive motivation is key!


Faeza Afzal, Head of Sales, The London School of English

  • When designing English for Specific Purposes training, make sure to adapt the language to the specific context of the Civil Service. It is helpful to include technical vocabulary and skills which are related to the roles, positions, and sectors of civil servants, so that they can apply the language to their day-to-day roles.
  • It is important to provide language training at a suitable level for participants. They should be divided based on their language level, so that training is appropriate to their needs. They will be able to build on their language gradually and progress well.
  • Offer a variety of language courses which can be divided based on context, skills, and delivery methods. Blended learning programmes can allow for long-term learning around core language skills, while specific sessions or courses can be focused on technical or sector-specific content.  


Christopher Ng, Operations Director, Civil Service College 

  • When setting standards of English proficiency, consider the roles and functions of civil servants and their respective departments;
  • Stay focus on the purpose and end goal, language proficiency is about delivering better public services to the citizens;
  • Embed learning throughout their professional development journey. Continuous development will make improvement impactful and sustainable.  


Recommendations and useful sites for Politeness strategies and Critical Thinking – Concorde International (Cherry Silcock-Stone, Sandie Warren and Rachel Rowland)

  • This is an amazing FREE site where you can access a wealth of functional English in everyday, social or work contexts. It not only shows the appropriate language to use, but also how it should be said and the degree of formality and politeness.
    Either click on ‘Business English’ to access ‘Podcasts for Professionals’         
    Skills’ and then click on ‘Speaking’ and choose your level (A2 –B2)

    First, download the Worksheet which prepares you for the video, through various tasks, and it includes the tape-script and a key.
    Then choose your video according to the situation and function you want to practise. These show real people in a wide range of contexts, using demonstrating functions such as advising, challenging someone, persuading, agreeing/disagreeing, managing conflict and many more.
    Half way through when the dialogue is complete, a person models and drills key sentences, demonstrating how tone, stress, intonation and body language are used to achieve the required outcome.

  • Shadow reading
    This links in with the previous material. Listen to the video dialogue with another person, noting the stress and intonation patterns, and mark these on the tape-script. Now copy the dialogue by reading it as naturally as possible at the same time as the speakers, trying to mimic their delivery and keeping up with the speed. Do this as many times as you like. At first, you and your partner can do this almost silently, mouthing the speech, but as you get more confident, start to increase your volume and turn down the volume of the video speakers. Eventually, you and your partner will be dominating the speech with the video speakers’ volume turned right down, or even off. It’s the best way I know of building confidence in your spoken delivery in a wide range of contexts, and ensuring you choose the most appropriate language for the situation in hand.
  • Politeness strategies -this is an example of how to introduce the importance of modal verbs for politeness:

Avoiding Directness

Direct Indirect
Sign here. Would you mind signing here?
Are you free tonight? I was wondering if you were free tonight.
I’ve got to go. I’m sorry, but I really must be going.
Are you staying long? Will you be staying long?
Are you Susan? You wouldn’t be Susan, by any chance?
Stand over there. Would you mind standing over there. 
Don’t touch that ornament. I’d rather you didn’t touch that ornament.
It’s better if he studies at home. It would be better if he studied at home
Shall we go? Shouldn’t we be going?

This can then be given with key words gapped, for students to remember and practise in pairs. They can then try using this strategy in a context most appropriate for their job.

  • Some Critical Thinking and problem-solving activities on various sites: site 1, site 2, and site 3, a free resource for educators.