KS4 Get Set Days
At Key Stage 4, students are given ‘Get Set Days’ every half-term, which cover the following four areas:
- careers advice/guidance
- religious studies
- exam management and preparation
In Year 10, students begin to research college options and future career paths. A number of local colleges and apprenticeship providers present to students about the variety of routes available, and the relevant requirements.
Later in the year, the students begin to work on their CV, and a covering letter, having been shown several successful examples of both. This is in advance of ‘interview day’, when local business people voluntarily come into school to give students their first experience of an interview, asking searching questions about their skills, qualities and experience to date.
In Year 11, the focus switches back to college applications. Again, we welcome local colleges to speak to students, including a ‘speed dating’-style event.
In Year 10, students receive a broad range of activities in ‘Get Set days’. For example, in 2018/19, we hosted a Holocaust survivor, who spoke movingly about her experiences in childhood (students had learned about the Holocaust in the build-up to this event via tutor time activities, and follow-up tasks allowed students to reflect on the Holocaust, including parallels with the 21st century).
Many of the religious studies activities involve debate. This year, the topics have included the sanctity of life, the death penalty and climate change. In all cases, students are presented with facts and required to reflect on their personal responses in a mature fashion.
In Year 11, the emphasis on sensible debate continues, although students are also provided with enlightening opportunities to discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, which they feel particularly beneficial in the build-up to exam season.
In Year 10, students learn about substance abuse. In 2018/19, this included a presentation from an outside speaker with broad experience of the consequences of drug use, and a myth busting quiz. Students were able to experience the effects of alcohol first hand using 'beer goggles', whilst learning of the dangers of excessive consumption.
Students also took part in a role play session where they learned about the effects of sexually transmitted infections; we then looked at cause, symptoms and treatments.
Finally, students were educated on the dangers of pornography.
In Year 11, there is a session called ‘Conception & Misconception’, which looked at the emotional, physical and financial constraints of becoming a teen parent, using real life teen mums from Hampshire.
A further session covered both mental health and careers. Sapphire, a local performer and song writer, performed covers and original work with her band, and went on to talk about career aspirations, how to believe in yourself, achieve goals and overcome the mental strain of revision for GCSEs.
Exam management and preparation
Across Key Stage 4, we educate students on the science of the meta-cognition of ‘how we learn’ and the best ways to ensure a stress-free exam period in Year 11.
This includes sessions on ‘growth mindset’, to enable students to develop a ‘can do’ mentality and build their resilience. We focus on revision strategies, including managing time effectively, and maximising the resources available to students, such as online platforms like Seneca Learning.
A key strand of Year 11 sessions this year was the launch of the VESPA model (Vision, Effort, Systems, Practice, Attitude), which is a tried-and-tested learning system students have been applying at A-level for many years.