Windlestone School took a group to North East Skills last year, we were contacted as a school and then as a result made a booking again this year.
Last year was good, we found it really worthwhile for our young people.
The booking process was fine – we booked small groups of students and the gentleman we spoke to for both of the years was very accommodating and got us a place at a time that was convenient for us and fitted in with our timetable. We have our own minibus so it was easy to get to the event. It was just 40 minutes down the road.
Class sizes are small and we brought small groups of students over both days. On the first day we bought Year 11 students and then a larger group of year 10 students the next day.
For both groups we went through the lesson plan and the students enjoyed watching the video, particularly as it had a clip of me from last year’s event in the background which helped to focus their attention.
Having attended the event last year, we felt confident in bringing a group of students along. Our students are a complex bunch which different levels of engagement.
What Prospects did
Attending an event that covers the whole region was really useful for Windlestone School. As a school who provides education for a complex range of students some with special requirements, coming from a broad spectrum of geographic regions across the counties it was really useful for them to speak to people across the region and helped us meet our IAG requirement which is really important.
Being out is a good social experience for Windlestone School students and it allows them to socialise and meet different people.
All schools are under duty to provide independent careers guidance and it can be difficult to find a way of implementing this. By taking out students to the event, they were able to talk to a range of providers and make an informed choice. We were able to show one student going to Penrith College (who had a stand at the event) what activities the college had going on and introduce him.
Windlestone Hall staff guided the students to relevant stands given their initial interests and supported our students keeping an overview as group leaders. Youngsters went round with their friends knowing staff were close by to help them out if they needed assistance when talking to exhibitors.
Outcomes and results
The feedback Windlestone School received from their students was very positive. The majority of students got something out of visiting at some point, besides the good freebies.
Both the year 10 and 11 pupils got a lot out of the visit, not just as an experience in itself but also as a valuable opportunity to look at opportunities they might not have otherwise thought about or considered without direct experience.
It was really encouraging to see students step out of their comfort zone, especially when speaking to The Reed NCFE Partnership which challenged students to a 30 second interview about their dream job and talk to a complete stranger about themselves. Surprisingly this was one of the most popular attractions for Windlestone School students. One of our young men was interested in construction. The chance to win a thermal beaker/cup proved a great incentive and we enjoyed watching Windlestone’s young people, who frequently lack confidence and the ‘soft skills’ to present themselves well, taking the ‘risk’.