Beyond the grades: how some of our schools are supporting students with PD in the Summer term
We’re passionate about student-led personal development, which is at the heart of our Aspirations programme. As we come to the end of the term and schools have settled back into face-to-face teaching, it’s time to start thinking ahead and planning for personal development in the Summer term. We’ve already seen some great ideas from schools we’re currently working with, so if you’re looking for inspiration, take a look at some of our favourite initiatives below! Podcasts Audio resources are currently popular with students and a podcast is a nice break from looking at a screen all the time. So why not think about starting your own next term? Hyndburn Academy created a popular ‘sports podcast’ for students to listen to over lockdown, and it’s been so successful that they’re continuing with this even now students are back in school. All you need is an area to talk about, some willing student and teacher volunteers and a laptop or computer to record your conversation. Extra-curricular clubs If you haven’t already, then now is the time to start getting extra-curricular clubs up and running again ready for the Summer term. It’s important to make sure students continue to have plenty of opportunities to develop skills beyond the grades. Extra-curricular clubs are also great for their well being. Our schools are back to running extra-curricular clubs, with sports such as football and rugby starting as well as performing arts. Some clubs are also continuing to run virtually, such as art clubs. Talk to your students We believe that students should be the ones to identify their priority personal development areas, which is why the Aspirations programme gives them the chance to identify areas for improvement and specify what is important to them. We also know how important it is to students to engage in those 121 development conversations with an adult. Even with a year of lockdowns, Irlam & Cadishead Academy have conducted 121 conversations with 86% of their students & logged them onto our platform. This tracking system has enabled the school to monitor which students have had a development conversation and who still needs to be followed up with, as well as to quickly see what the conversation was about and how the student is feeling. Live Q&A sessions about careers Careers often comes out as a priority for students to learn more about and is frequently identified as an area where they need more support, especially in Key Stages 4 and 5. One example from a school actively promoting different career paths is Seahaven Academy, where they have introduced ‘Seahaven stories’. This involves careers professionals doing live Q&A sessions with students about their career paths; so far they’ve had speakers from the Director of Coaching at England Rugby and a London Police Officer. Next term it’s expanding to include Seahaven alumni to try and encourage students to feel they are able to relate to the speakers. PSHE drop down days or lessons There’s going to be a lot of focus on assessments and grades in the Summer term, but education isn’t just about the academics! PSHE drop down days or lessons are back, with students focusing on relationships and sex education (RSE) as this is something that was missed over lockdown, as well as areas such as LGBTQIA. Enrichment programmes During lockdown many schools kept up their focus on Education with Character, through introducing weekly ‘character’ challenges, such as learning a new hobby or practising a skill. Some school are continuing with their ‘weekly character calendar’ post-lockdown, with activities such as learning magic tricks or listening to TED talks. Hopefully these ideas have been helpful and have given you some inspiration about how to prepare to support students with personal development in the Summer term. If you’d like to find out more about our Aspirations programme and how we can support your school and students with personal development beyond the grades, get in touch with us.