For the first time in eight years I don’t have a Tutor Group. Instead, this year I have eleven, sort of. Part of my role is Learning for Life Coordinator which means I’m in the unenviable position of overseeing our programme of PSHE (Personal, Social, Health, Economics education) as well as supporting each Tutor and three groups as well as running our assembles and our guest speakers. All of this is what we call Learning for Life.
We’ve started the year cautiously, having a couple of whole school assemblies outside on the grounds rather than squeeze everyone into one space and we’ve done split assemblies for age appropriate messages too. Already this term we’ve discussed attitudes to personal confidence and achievement, being kind to one another as well as keeping safe in and out of school and what to do if you’re worried about anything. We’ve also had presentations from our Head Students on their plan for fundraising for the year and have had each teacher who is running a club or society to get up to sell their plans to everyone.
Two weeks ago I ran an assembly on why didn’t they teach me that at school to set the stage for what comes next: our Learning for Life Tutor-tailored sessions.
Last week the programme began and because I now don’t have my own group to run, I could move in and out of all the other groups to see what’s going on and how it’s working.
In Year 7 I saw a check-in to the routines of school life – to see how everyone was doing as well as the finishing off of our 5Hs Poster Competition (see this article here). They them tackled questions of self esteem and personal confidence: what they thought they were good at, or not good at and why they thought what they did about themselves.
In Year 8 I saw a workshop on self image beginning with a very useful session on the rules of engagement in discussions and debate, so valuable to set the stage when discussing such personal subjects as body image – where do we get our ideas on what we should or shouldn’t look like from?
In Year 9 the session was on the complex but powerful topic of values. Why do we believe what we believe and how do our beliefs dictate our actions? Where do we get our sense of right and wrong from and is our moral framework enough to deal with the choices and problems we’ll face in todays world and how we should relate to each other.
Year 10 begins with looking at money. How much do you want? How are you going to get it? How are you not going to lose it? At some point you may have to have to borrow it: how can you safely manage that? This is the start of our Year 10 programme on personal economics, careers and courses which will culminate in work experience and our professional development week.
Year 11 reflected on their professional development week from the end of last year. We’ll use their feedback in improving this years programme for the new Year 10 groups as well as giving Year 11 the next steps towards their futures. We’ll continue to develop their CVs, their professional, personal and academic plans throughout this year as the focus swiftly changes to exam preparation around Christmas.
Our sixth form have their individual plans, supported by their tutors, to get what they need to get done to prepare for their next steps whether that’s through UCAS, an apprenticeship or some other route.
So that was my hour, sampling all of that.
Ayd Instone, Head of Curriculum Enrichment and Communications