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Personal Development in United Learning Schools: Part 2

Personal Development at Coleridge

The third guest speaker at the webinar was Nicola Amner from Coleridge. Aspiration’s data showed that their students were placing limitations on themselves due to feeling as though they were behind academically. Coleridge worked on this with students and, after doing so, Aspirations showed that 84% of students were now interested in university.

A problem that both Nicola and many other schools faced was budget limitation; therefore, they needed to find ways of teaching students about careers with the current resources they had available.

What Coleridge did to help their students:

  • Introduced PSHE as a lesson. This enabled students to learn about issues identified from Aspirations more regularly.

  • Staff training. This included training on PSHE and mental health, to ensure all staff were able to support in these areas.

  • Staff audit. This involved identifying staff with previous jobs in other sectors who could talk to students that showed interest in those industries.

  • Used outside companies. This made PSHE sessions more impactful and interesting for students. Coleridge used outside companies such as Inform the Future, Cambridge United, and many more to deliver sessions for students. These were all chosen based on the data provided from Aspirations.

“When we’ve had that data that came through from Aspirations, we could identify the areas that have come up as a concern” Nicola Amner (Assistant Principal at Coleridge)

Personal Development at Salford City Academy

Emma Breen from Salford City Academy spoke about what they have implemented in terms of tracking, monitoring and encouraging attendance to after-school clubs.

The school has 30 clubs they continued running throughout the pandemic to keep up with the expectation of all departments running a club. They undertook a staff audit to understand any skills their current staff had, which helped them decide what clubs to offer based on staff expertise.

The Aspirations registers are used for understanding which students were and were not attending the clubs on offer at the school. The data can be pulled off the system at any time by schools which Emma described as one of the great things about the Aspirations platform. The data can then be split into different groups such as year group and gender which can support schools to demonstrate impact within different student groups.

Some of the ways Salford City Academy encourage students to attend after school clubs:

  • Advertisements. Posters, social media and emails.

  • Form tutors. Data is shared with form tutors so they can have targeted conversations with students who are not attending clubs that they have signed up for.

  • Student voice. Students can request specific clubs that interest them.

  • Reward points. The schools can reward students who have high attendance.

“They (form tutors) can see which students are attending and which are not. They can then have that one-to-one conversation in form time to find out maybe what the reasons are” Emma Breen (Assistant Principal at Salford City Academy)

Personal Development at Midhurst Rother College

Phillip Lloyd from Midhurst Rother College was our final guest speaker. Their journey with Aspirations only began in February so the initial set-up, the use of the data and the next steps were discussed. As students were not in school due to the pandemic, the data from Aspirations was useful in understanding how their students were feeling when they returned in March.

Aspirations data showed that low ability students were interested in very technical apprenticeship groups, and high ability students were interested in low skilled jobs. Midhurst Rother College wanted to work with these students to raise their aspirations and introduce other potential pathways.

The college was also keen to adapt their offer regarding apprenticeships after Aspirations data showed half of their students were interested in that pathway and is currently not offered at the school.

Aspirations helped them to create a ‘you said, we did’ culture at their college.

Additionally, the college created what they call a ‘student’s learning journey’. This consists of both their academic journey and their character-building journey. Their character-building journey was informed by and created using theAspirations data, allowing them to understand the difference they are making to their students.

"For us, a lot of it is raising the profile of what we are doing and having that better communication with the students" Phillip Lloyd (Vice Principal at Midhurst Rother College)

If you would like to know more about the Aspirations programme, please do get in touch. Be sure to check out Part 1 if you haven’t already!

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