Currie Community High School
Our key focus was to increase student awareness of the world of work, while using their literacy, numeracy, thinking and health & well-being skills within a Careers, Enterprise and Apprenticeship Challenge setting. Compared to 2018-19 when we first ran WOW Week across Currie High, in 2019-20 we are now working with our Primary schools and Woodlands and created a cluster WOW Week. Below are descriptions of each challenge or activity.
Primary 7 Challenges: All cluster primary 7 students came to Currie for one day during WOW Week. Students took part in activities based on STEM/Skills, Entrepreneurialism and Money Management, to raise awareness and develop their skills, while being supported by industry. As part of a renewed transitions program, this new approach facilitates more activities and long-term engagement with students, based on skills, and being supported by our S3 My World of Work Ambassadors.
My World of Work Ambassador Assemblies: Our S3 and S5 My World of Work Ambassadors held assemblies the day before each year groups activities were undertaken. This raised awareness of My World of Work and having the Ambassadors share their experience with their peers, based on appropriate years (e.g. S3 led the S1 & S2 assemblies, S5 led the S3 assembly).
Department Focus across the BGE: All S1 to S3 classes took part in a department focus on careers and skills, if they were not completing a challenge on their day. We utilised a range of resources, including BBC careers, across subjects. This was so that it can be demonstrated to students how curricular and transferrable skills are essential and tie together for an individual pathway.
EnterpriseChallenge (S1): All S1 students were placed into groups and given the task of constructing their own bookstore, linked to our promoting reading engagement strategy. Students used their skills; problem-solving (literacy, numeracy), communication, working with others, employability (assigning roles) and self-awareness, to build a bookstore, supported by Dragons (industry partners) who would invest in their business, while being given the opportunity for some quiet reading.
Careers Challenge (S1): To build upon the Enterprise Challenge, our students took part in 'Who is Best for the job?'. Students focused on the selection process. Supported by Industry (Boogie & Arlene from Forth 1), students were tasked with recruiting staff for the new Currie High Radio Station. They examined the main applicants, wildcards and apprentices to select the right candidates to fill the posts. To conclude students were given the opportunity to reflect, as a part of self-awareness, on their skills as part of our BGE skills reviews. This is then shared with home so that parents/carers become a key party in developing skills.
Enterprise Challenge (S2 & S3): Expanding upon the entrepreneurial activity each year group did last year, our S2 and S3 students examined bookstores within a government-controlled society. They examined, planned and utilised technology to encourage customers to come back to bookstores, while using their numeracy skills to manage cash flow and pitch to 'Government Advisors' for investment in their business.
Careers Challenge (S2): To build upon their Enterprise Challenge, and last year's experiences, our S2 students took part in 'Where are the Jobs?'. This allowed students to examine labour market information, along with starting to tackle stereotypes and gender imbalance. While examining student profiles, students identified the skills, qualities and experiences needed for various jobs, influenced by their own course choice. To conclude students were given the opportunity to reflect, as a part of self-awareness, on their skills as part of our BGE skills reviews. This is then shared with home so that parents/carers become a key party in developing skills.
Careers Challenge (S3): To build upon their Enterprise Challenge, and last years experiences, our S3 students took part in 'How do you get the job you want?'. Students were again introduced to labour market information with a focus on where the jobs are. Supported by KT Tunstall talking about her pathway, students were broken into two groups, each focusing on what makes a good CV (led by Currie & Brown) and, as an SCQF Ambassador School, raising awareness of the different qualifications and pathways available for three case studies (students). This activity and in conjunction with last years, students interviewing parents/carers on their pathways, etc., aims to provide an informed opportunity for students to reflect and think about their move into S4 and beyond.
Apprenticeship Challenge (S3, Woodlands & some S4/5/6): As student's progress into the Senior Phase, it is our responsibility as practitioners to share with them about the different pathways available. Linked to Scottish Apprenticeship Week, we focused on the suite of apprenticeships available; Foundation, Modern and Graduate. Interested students from Woodlands took part, along with some of our S4/5/6, who through the 16+ Data Hub, expressed an interest in working towards a Modern Apprenticeship. Students engage in a rotation of activities, led by partners, specifically looking at each of the apprenticeships and with links to the My World of Work website. To conclude students were given the opportunity to reflect, as a part of self-awareness, on their skills and Career Management Skills (CMS). This is then shared with home so that parents/carers become a key party in developing skills, providing a focus for the S3 profiling.
Within Creativity & Employability, formerly DYW, up until 2018-19 was more specifically focussed towards S4 to S6, which I labelled as being 'top heavy'.
After a review of our baseline testing against the CES, it was identified that more support should be provided within the S1 to S3 curriculum. Our aim was to develop a cluster approach, working with the Primary and Special school students. We wanted to provide opportunities for students to practically experience careers along with developing the enterprising mindset.
Based on practice from schools across Scotland,at that time there was no other Secondary school that had attempted this for approximately 450 students. The majority of activities within a secondary context were focused on one full day activity, however with primary schools this was a week of activities, but no joined up approach was visible, hence we devised WOW Week. We mapped each of the 2nd level and by the end of the BGE CES 'I can' statements, to ensure success criteria and focus for challenge undertaken.
From the very first day to the end there is always a buzz around the school and the various challenges that are planned. The S2 and S3 challenges are linked to course choice, and inform progression and choice for all subjects, due to a focus on skills.
In each of the videos you can see some comments on what the students thought of the various challenges. Along with this, we will be able to see any improvement, e.g., for the Primary 7 challenge, as students completed a baseline testing against CES and how this will inform and compare to the next years group.
With our continual focus on baseline testing, we would expect to see a rise in the numbers of students becoming more confident with their skills and knowledge of and/or preparation for the world of work. We should be able to see the impact on profiling, as we are shifting to using the My World of Work website and having a focus on skills in S3 and across the cluster.
This project is sustainable as there is not a lot of finance needed. The first year was 2018-19 which had the largest investment of money and time, and now having completed year 2, it gets slightly easier and more creativity can come in from students and staff.
We will be working towards some of the following developments:
- expanding in the years to come, to provide more progression in the Enterprise Challenges, one for each year group, next year will be a new activity for S3,
- towards more involvement of parents/carers through family challenges in the evening (e.g. based on STEM),
- providing personalisation and choice in activities for students, outside of the Enterprise, Careers and Apprenticeship Challenges, and
- building on the success of having our Primaries involved to link more to transitions and skills awareness.
Preparation of materials for the challenges (photocopying, laminating, lego sets (£1 from PoundLand, plugs (from recycling centres and cleaned), etc.), though with each year the resources are kept and amended, minimising the financial burden on our cluster.
Schools: Currie Primary, Nether Currie Primary, Juniper Green Primary, Currie Community High and Woodlands.
Parents/carers from across Currie (past and present student parents/carers)
External Partners: STEM Edinburgh (as part of raising awareness of Science and STEM), Mark Wright (Climb Online & winner of the Apprentice 2014), Blackrock, KT Tunstall, Boogie & Arlene (Forth 1), Venesky & Brown, DYW Edinburgh, Mid Lothian and East Lothian, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, Scottish Booktrust, Golden Hare Books, Edinburgh Guarantee, Edinburgh College, Skills Development, Hachette, Arnold Clark, NHS Lothian, Faithful & Gould, Bright Red Publishing, Young Enterprise Scotland (YES), Edinburgh Reporter, Business in the Community, JET Academy, SCQF Partnership, Currie & Brown and Balfour Beatty.
There will be a lot of work needed in year 1 to get it started, however in year 2 workload is less, as some of it has already been constructed. Bring together an active group of staff, why not include your student teachers and probationers to build your week. Start smallish and then build bigger and better for a holistic experience for P7 to S3, year on year.
What is WOW Week? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF5xhjANq4Q
Enterprise Challenge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzXJzR5aBes
Careers Challenge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln7IC3S32Xo
Apprenticeship Challenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70IHwUxlZMo
Primary 7 Challenges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5h4FZl8sGM On Twitter the # has it for #curriewoww19 and #curriewoww20 (you can also search for these on LinkedIn)