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Saturday Skills Clubs - Your views

Discussion in 'Education news' started by themidlander, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. themidlander

    themidlander New commenter


    I work for an Outreach Team for a central London university and increasingly given new HE and government proposals, we are increasingly being encouraged to provide Outreach materials that contribute to the enrichment and attainment of school age students with one such initiative being a 15 week long Saturday skills club starting in January.

    The scheme has the following key strands - Maths, English, Animation and Study Skills and hopes to offer input from academic staff and cultural visits arranged by the university. The focus in on GCSE.

    What I'd like to know from teaching professionals is what sort of things would the profession like to see? Particularly for the English and Maths strands. We would love teacher input how to best support and develop this.

    I am a former teacher involved in Outreach work and have experience of writing schemes of work for English. What could we be doing that could add to the student journey/progression?

    Thanks in advance for your input.

  2. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    No schemes like this for a start.

    There is already way too much focus on GCSEs for children. Saturday mornings are for other things.
    emerald52, InkyP, sabrinakat and 8 others like this.
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Enrichment tends to the facile, those who provide it in my experience are like the divorced parent who visits their children once or twice a year, takes them to the cinema or to a theme park or to MacDonald's and leave all the real work of parenting to their ex for the rest of the year.

    Make a decision, Jim - do you want to provide enrichment to the education of whichever children are socially & economically lucky enough to find themselves able to access your services or do you genuinely want to raise attainment? If the former then just send your favourite schools free transport & museum passes and vouchers for MacDonald's. If the latter then hold regular classes with experienced adults qualified to teach the basics up to A-Level and don't rely upon maths-unqualified CV-focused undergrads who just want to score an afternoon making crazy things or playing games with children who they will never have to see again.

    Go for the latter. Go out of your way to make your events & materials accessible to children other than those of the sharp-elbowed middle classes. Target particularly looked-after children and children in PRUs, as well as children from no-name state comprehensives. Increase attainment. Make a genuine difference where a difference needs to be made.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  4. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I do so agree with Scintillant. Oh, give the children a break!!!!!!! Let them run free and do things which bring them fun in life, right away from studying. Please!!! Compared to my generation their lives are being made pure hell with the pressure that is on them with all of this. How on earth did I and many others live fulfilled lives (and I was a teacher for more than 30 years) when we didn't have any homework at all at school? I went to a secondary modern - perhaps it was different at Grammar School - but I survived happily and did work I really loved.
  5. themidlander

    themidlander New commenter

    As a teacher who has worked in PRU's EBD and in the care sector I can assure you those things resonate and I appreciate the sentiment about Saturday's but the appetite is apparently there. We have an animation club happening on Saturday and when I say being focussed on GCSE I mean that age group. Students would also have to opt in

    This is happening across the sector and the schemes hopes to utilise academics and trained staff like myself to provide talks and cultural visits that link to the curriculum. I am reluctant to make our provision an extension of intervention and the pitfalls of accountability and assessment have been raised by myself in such meetings. It is not our role to be surrogate teachers as teaching, as alluded to requires qualification.

    If such activity is viewed as unsavoury then I can appreciate and will listen to that but also want to gauge what would be useful should these students opt in.
  6. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    I do this at primary level and the only reason I still go, (apart from the money) and the kids attend is because it feels nothing like school. That's the key. Don't try putting objectives up or getting them to write, You have to promote learning through experience. I do English but it's all drama and media based. The kids think it's a drama class. The maths is done through fun projects and makes. when it first opened the schools tried to get us to teach literacy hour type lessons and wanted books marked etc. The kids refused to come.

    Look for life experiences that enrich. Demand manners and respect and they will learn without knowing.
    sabrinakat likes this.
  7. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    So lets see if we've got this right. You set up a 15 week scheme and then seek advice on what to offer? Perhaps it would have been better to identify the need first and then set up a scheme tailored to meet it. It seems to me that your organisation has said 'We'd better do something to justify our existence so we'll set up a scheme. What will we do? We don't know but we'll ask for help on that once we've set it up.'

    Secondly, I trust you will be paying an appropriate level of consultancy fees to those colleagues who consider it worthwhile to contribute or are you yet another entity who considers teachers' time to have zero value?
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    So it's a GCSE crammer club then. Maths and English. You want to prepare kids for GCSE Maths and English? Ask the relevant subject teachers. Look at the TES resources.

    But I shan't help you. Because I don't believe in yet more cramming and coaching.

    I'd want them to have a lie-in and then do some of the following:
    • talk to their family
    • visit their grandparents
    • read a bloody book that isn't on the bloody syllabus
    • play football
    • run round the park
    • play a desultory game of basketball
    • wander round Boots and try the lipsticks
    • go in the garden
    • take the dog for a walk
    • ask a neighbour if they need any shopping done
    • watch sport on telly
    • write a blog about a hobby
    • tidy their room
    • make lunch
    emerald52, InkyP, sabrinakat and 9 others like this.
  9. themidlander

    themidlander New commenter

    Any consultants will be paid. We haven't set anything up and are consulting fellow professionals - I realise that wasn't specified initially. The aim is to provide more engaging experiences - the needs of the sector are part of the discussion. Oldfashioned and others have made some interesting comments I'm part of the team writing this and personally speaking I don't want it to become the sort of beast that natural cynicism rightfully fears it could be. This is what I'm being encouraged to do and I want to make it as beneficial as possible.
  10. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter


    More English and Maths? How dreary.

    How about free music lessons, from a qualified musician with instruments for the children to use on site?
  11. fineliner

    fineliner Occasional commenter

    My favourite quote of 2016
  12. themidlander

    themidlander New commenter

    That's very interesting. Am I right in thinking you are one of the consultants? For my own sake and that of the kids, I certainly want it to become the latter. Were there any particular visits involved or types of speaker?
  13. themidlander

    themidlander New commenter

    Along with the animation stuff we do offer that sort of thing. Ideally, I'd like to see any maths be part of something along the lines of our life sciences lab experiences or our architecture tasters so that the kids have something fun and tangible from it. There will be a celebration event at the end and a showcase of films, projects and designs.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I agree, take them to play sport instead. It will do them far more good.
  15. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Look- I just don't understand your purpose. I am really confused.

    Did you pitch for something that starts next term, with a brochure and to create a work experience/social enterprise/supporting disenfranchised group and now require consultants to direct undergraduates to do the right thing?

    For great consultancy- expect to pay.

    Dr Mark Biddiss- he provides an excellent service. Make no mistake, he costs because he is worth every penny. (Science)

    As for music and dance- Trinity Laban music conservatoire..

    There are probably lots of TESSERS who would fit the bill too. Except most of tessers are using alias to preserve their modesty!!
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
    emerald52 and sabrinakat like this.
  16. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    - Music
    - Dance
    - Art
    - Sculpture
  17. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Jim ... "probably" a teacher who has found a way of avoiding the stresses of a typical classroom teacher.

    I wonder what his salary is?

    Kevin the Clown
    sabrinakat, Mrsmumbles and Shedman like this.
  18. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Not more Maths and English. Oh god. They will never want to carry on with education. The parents who push their children into this sort of thing will push their children to apply for uni. This is why the current outreach programmes struggle.

    You want to do things which operate at the level of aspirations or conscientiousness to develop intrinsic motivation. Developing cultural capital, achieving goals like climbing mountains, running races, making creative artefacts, visiting companies and seeing people in situ will all get more of those who don't apply developing the conscientiousness to work and apply to your university.

    Can I just echo the above posters - get them doing something other than what they do at school or at home.
  19. themidlander

    themidlander New commenter

    Thank you - I appreciate that this is something that needs to be handled well and have clear objectives that don't equate to cramming sessions and that this is honest in that. I also appreciate that some people don't agree with the concept of weekend clubs and that's fine. We aren't without budget and as part of that team I'd sooner see something that will benefit rather than pay lip service. Some people have issue with the term enrichment and again, I can understand. I have the time being a mix of office and school facing to write something that I hope will be valuable to those who opt in and value your input.
  20. themidlander

    themidlander New commenter

    Thank you.

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