Leadership and Engagement Award
The Leadership and Engagement Award has been developed to help students demonstrate their development beyond their academic learning. Some of the activities within the award, such as attending a school trip or being an academic mentor, have been suggested to specifically benefit the students considering progression to university. Other suggested tasks are also aimed at those preparing themselves for apprenticeships or employment, such as completing the extended project qualification, or volunteering within the community. The award is divided into 5 categories with all students automatically working towards the first level, and the most aspirational students working towards the top level:
- Certificate - Participation in the Form Time Programme;
- Bronze - Participation in the Extended Learning Programme and Volunteering In School;
- Silver - Participation in the Community and Enterprise Programme;
- Gold - Participation in the Leadership Development Programme;
- Platinum - Outstanding engagement with local, national or international communities.
It is currently estimated that the majority of students leaving in the Summer of 2019 will obtain at least the Certificate level award, and up to 5 students will aim for the Platinum award.
Extended Project Qualification
The Extended Project Qualification is an independent research project. Students can research any topic and are required to present a final outcome which can be in a variety of forms, such as a written report, video, presentation, artefact.
The qualification is well received by universities throughout the country, as it demonstrates the level of commitment and independent work which is desired throughout Higher Education
Throughout the EPQ curriculum, students have 10 taught hours of learning, and a minimum of 3 hours one-to-one tutorial time with the co-ordinator/supervisor (Mrs Bryton). In taught sessions, the following skills are encouraged, and then developed through the independent work:
- Planning a project
- Project management
- Effective literature researching
- Reading/evaluating literature
- Conducting primary research
- Plagiarism and referencing
- Self-reflection and evaluation
Following our regular data captures, underachieving students in years 10 and 11 are identified. After having received the appropriate training, Sixth Form students are offered the opportunity to mentor younger students in the school. The Sixth Formers work with these students in many aspects of school life such as organisation and revision techniques. Some of our younger students find it reassuring to hear stories of how older peers may have encountered barriers to their success and how they have overcome these to be a success..
Students are regularly reminded about the importance of super-curricular activities. Universities in particular are very keen to see how enthusiastic students are about their subject area, especially if it is their chosen area of study for university. Each department has published a list of super-curricular activities which take students beyond the expected areas of study to show that they have gone above and beyond in that subject area. Students are encouraged to undertake at least one activity from each subject area they study to enhance their learning experiences. Previous activities have included visits to museums, attending talks given by the local historical society and experiencing theatre performances of key plays.
Oxbridge Preparation Programme
At the start of year 12, students with high GCSE scores and significant academic potential are identified and invited to participate in the Oxbridge Preparation Programme. Students on the programme attend a fortnightly tutorial with a dedicated member of staff to explore Oxbridge requirements, suitable approaches to study, raising aspirations and university applications. Teachers and form tutors of the named candidates are also invited to attend meetings to ensure all staff are aware of the expectations of Oxbridge candidates and requirements for the application process.
Oxbridge candidates are pushed to read widely at undergraduate level to enhance their super-curricular activities. All students are encouraged to undertake relevant work experience or to apply for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools programme. Regular monitoring of progress is undertaken by staff.
Key successes last year:
- Three students were identified as potential Oxbridge candidates
- Two of these candidates were successfully accepted on to the Sutton Trust Summer Schools programme
- One of these candidates was successfully accepted to a work experience placement with a leading international law firm in London.
- One student was offered an Interview at Cambridge University in early December.
Assessment lessons and Progress Meetings
Some students find the jump from Level 2 to level 3 courses harder than others, in particular making use of their study time. With this in mind, students receive three timetabled assessment sessions over a fortnight, where students progress is tracked and if interventions are needed, they can be put in place at an early stage.
In addition to the assessment sessions, if any of our students are not making the desired progress with their studies, they will have a progress meeting with a Leader of the Sixth Form. In this meeting, action plans are created and targets are set and reviewed, in order to help our students, raise their attainment.
Each student completes an initial a questionnaire in order to identify what career/s they are interested in. This helps to personalise a careers programme to suit their individual needs. Once complete, we put in place provision to support students in learning more about their chosen careers.
- 1-to-1 careers meetings with DOMEG
- group meetings with DOMEG
- contact with employers
- Use of the online careers programme, Cascaid Kudos. (This innovate programme allows students to filter searches by location, salary, subject choice, entry requirements)
Students are encouraged to think about their individual skillset and how this might relate to the career that they are most interested in; what qualifications are needed to pursue this particular career and where course availability is nationally, to apply for it. Assemblies and contact with employers can therefore be targeted at the students interested in a specific career, which will be further reinforced with the implementation of a careers fayres and days early next year.
In addition to this, the careers programme also entails subject specific opportunities to promote careers. This may come in the form of university days, links with curriculum or work-related activities within subjects. All departments display possible careers within their subject area to enable students to understand where each subject could take them in the future.
All of this is further reinforced with a careers newsletter that is distributed to students in the Christmas, Easter and Summer terms.
To best prepare students for university, we start our university discussion as early as the start of Year 11 in order to motivate the pupils but also to better inform Year 12 subject selection.
During Year 12 induction, pupils receive an hour’s session on university life and the types of universities there are available. This intervention prior to finalising their Year 12 options choice, gives students a better chance of selecting the correct course for them.
When in Sixth Form, the newly introduced Sixth Form only tutor group allows students one session a week working on their university application through the Unifrog website in conjunction with the form tutors.
We provide students with access to a variety of University and Apprenticeship fairs. In addition to the ongoing support, towards the end of Year 12 pupils receive further tutorials on how best to compete a personal statement.
As pupils move into Year 13, they continue to receive weekly support from form tutors and the school also pay for all UCAS applications that meet our October deadline.
Form Time Programme
The Form Time Programme has been designed to aid students in developing the study skills required not only for their level 3 studies, but also for further education. Many of the tasks and activities, such as note-taking, academic researching and writing, and referencing, have been specifically aimed at university level to ensure that students are offered the opportunity to develop their skills to the highest level. Other tasks are aimed at developing more personal skills, such as time and stress management, which will benefit students throughout any future they choose
- Conduct Around School
- Time Management
- Note Taking
- Command Words
- Exam Planning & Practice
- Independent Learning
- Basic Literacy
- Basic Numeracy
- Stress Management
- Memory Strategies
- Revision Resources
- Academic Writing
- Background Reading
- Conducting Research
- Personal Statements
- Super/Extra Curricular