Last Thursday saw the first of two Applied Learning Days this year. These days are arranged to bring to school expert speakers about subjects which impact on our young people both within and beyond school. We were very fortunate indeed to be able to welcome so many speakers who had prepared sessions for students. Combined, the visitors exceeded in number our own teaching staff, and students really appreciated the expertise they brought to the sessions.
Tutors were able to remain with their Tutor groups all day. This enabled them to support visiting speakers and their tutees within the sessions whilst also learning alongside our young people from the visitors. All students have been asked to reflect upon their experiences, and what they have learnt. This is being recorded within their Employability Passports.
Below are accounts of the day for each Year Group:
Year 7 – A Day of Difference (The Barbican Theatre)
Last Thursday we welcomed back ‘Barbican Theatre’ to lead the Year 7 ‘Day of Difference’. The aim of the day is for students to challenge stereotypes and find out more about themselves and how they respond to others. As well as opening their minds and meeting a range of people with very interesting backgrounds, each Tutor group created a community of their own; together with customs, greetings and a shared cultural identity.
I have been involved in this activity for a number of years and was so impressed with the way the tutees worked together to create a welcoming space for the ‘evacuees’. They were an absolute credit to themselves. This was echoed by the staff from ‘Barbican Theatre’. It was also a pleasure to see how thoughtful and inquisitive the students were when meeting with our guest visitors.
The day also allowed Tutors and tutees to get to know each other better. A huge thanks to the Year 7 Tutors and other staff involved for making it a really interesting and enjoyable experience for the students.
Year 8 – Employability (The RAF and Babcock, together with Tutors)
It was a very successful and interesting Applied Learning Day for Year 8s, with a range of activities. The RAF delivered useful sessions on employability, what employers look for, and interview techniques. Babcock sent 12 staff to run two sessions – the first explored and busted many myths relating to employment opportunities in their industry and beyond; the second was a problem solving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activity. Tutors led tutor teams through “The Enterprise Game” – a game of strategy, risk and reward set within a retail park.
Year 9 – Understanding Others, Ourselves, and Our Aspirations
Five activities made up the day for Year 9 students. Plymouth University provided two sessions – one based on raising aspirations when considering future careers and opportunities which included choosing to go to university. whilst the other was a wind turbine challenge. The students found this session to be informative and challenging. They enjoyed working as a team to create a good working model of a turbine. It was soon apparent how competitive some of our students are!
The Zone also delivered two sessions. One was looking at contraception and the other considered lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgender issues. Whilst boys and girls were divided for these sessions which covered sensitive topics, visitors from The Zone were very impressed with the maturity shown by our young people, and their acceptance of diversity.
Our own staff Mr Gorvin and Mrs Hodges, who are qualified CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) trainers, delivered a session on eSafety. Students were engaged and interested in the facts that were shared on the challenges posed by social media.
Year 10 – Looking After Ourselves and Others
Year 10 took part in 4 sessions throughout the day focusing on well-being and safety.
- Session 1 – First Aid
Students learned how to react in case of an emergency and if needed how to do CPR and place people in the recovery position. Delivered by Mr Woodland and Mr Brown
- Session 2 – Addiction
Students learned about the dangers of addiction and the possible implications on an addicts life
Delivered by trained staff from the Plymouth Harbour Centre
- Session 3 – Abuse
Students talked about all kinds of abuse that happen in life and what to do if they are victims of it
Delivered by trained staff from PDAS.
- Session 4 – Well Being and Relaxation
Students learned relaxation methods, including yoga. Something we could all do with in this day and age!
Delivered by Clair Beckett.
Year 10 were superb throughout the day and the best Tutor Group prize was awarded to 10AP. Well done!
Year 11 – Understanding Others and Staying Safe
Two visitors from Plymouth Centre for Faiths and Cultural Diversity provided an insight into the cultures within our own city. Presenters from Stand Against Violence should our young people how important it is to think before you act, and the unpredictability of circumstances which can lead to violent incidents.
Visitors from the Medical School explained what is needed to get into a medical career, and also explained how to avoid falling prey to diabetes as a result of lifestyle choices. South Coast Martial Arts provided some practical ways to protect yourself when unable to avoid a dangerous situation.
Year 12 & 13 – Learn to Live, Applying to University, Study Skills and University Finances
Last Thursday Post 16 had two Applied Learning Days; as we are now so close to examinations and the big push to the end of the year we had Elevate come in to both Years and discuss revision and the best way to study with their ‘study sensai’ program. Their ideas were not new but they reconnected students with best practise and logical ideas to move forward. The key to get success was constant review. Even 60 seconds before a lesson on key factors and points could improve your grade.
The two Year Groups then split to follow their own program; Year 12 started the ‘employability passport’, for those going on to University or looking for employment afterward this is a great skill to enable students to prove they have the right skills for employers. Our next section was all about mental health awareness; in a world where our students face continuing pressure and have high expectations On Course South West produced an excellent workshop on how to look after your own mental health and the signs to look for. The day was topped off with a difficult roadshow at The Pavilions. Where students were faced with real life consequences of unsafe driving. It is a harrowing experience for anyone let alone students that are just embarking on their driving careers. A worthy seminar for anyone behind the wheel.
Year 13 split into our University students and employment groups. Both having a seminar from PwC and what is expected in the world or work. Finally, our University students had the opportunity to visit the Copthorne Hotel who were hosting a Personal Statement drop in centre to assist our students. While the last activity was a team building exercise hosted by Mr white.
A big Thank You to all who came and support the day, but also to our students. Every guest made a remark about our students honesty, openness and commitment to the day.