Career aspirations of Harris Federation Post 16In March 2010 almost 400 visitors attended the Federation Post 16
Next Steps evening held at Harris Academy South Norwood.
The event was aimed at Year 11, 12 and 13 students and their parents/carers from our four Academies in Croydon and Merton, giving them the chance to link up with a wide range of Next Steps organisations. Exhibitors at the careers fair included employers such as Channel 4; PricewaterhouseCoopers; Mansell;
Her Majesty’s armed forces and 25 Universities from around the country including Oxford and Cambridge;
Queen Mary; Birmingham and St George’s. Careers advice and support was provided by the Connexions Service.
Throughout the evening a programme of career development sessions and talks took place, providing visitors with the chance to explore career opportunities and the various elements of graduate study in more detail. Talks included ‘writing a personal statement’, ‘student finance’, ‘what to do on a gap year’, insights into ‘careers at EDF Energy’, ‘careers within the Ministry of Justice’, ‘a day in the life of a management consultant’, ‘apprentice and training opportunities’ and so on.
A parent who expressed her satisfaction commented on the evening: “I just wanted to thank you for inviting us.
My daughter came away with a great deal of information and said she was totally inspired by her one to one discussions with firms and Universities”.
At Harris we are constantly encouraging students to be thoughtful and proactive about planning their future career and events like the Next Steps evening help them to start thinking carefully about their skills and interests and how they can build on these for a successful future. This is the first year we have done something quite so ambitious, but based on the success of the event; we look forward to next year being even bigger and better.
Harris Federation Post 16
Diary of a Student Commissioner in New YorkNine Student Commissioners and six teachers were chosen to travel to New York. The aim of the visit was to see how we can enhance teaching and learning across Harris Federation.
We left early on Saturday 6th February. We were on a very long 7 hour Virgin Atlantic flight to JFK airport in New York. We got there in the afternoon and it was cold! But, we were all too excited to care about our numbing hands and red noses and we soon got in a familiar looking New York yellow cab to make our way to the Holiday Inn Hotel, Manhattan. After settling down, it was time for dinner and we made our way to Lombardi’s Pizza, which was America’s first pizzeria, and is still regarded as one of the best.
Since it was the weekend, we had a lot of free time on our hands before we visited schools, so on Sunday we went sight-seeing.
From visiting the Statue of Liberty, to Ground Zero and up to the top of The Empire State Building. Now that the weekend was over, it was time to learn more about learning as we went to the New York City – Department of Education office. We left early Monday morning to head to the Tweed Building where the Department of Education offices are based – there are even two schools there! We had a meeting with five members of the DOE, including the Deputy Chancellor who gave us an insight into what education is like in New York; which is different from every school!
Everything they told us raised more questions than answers because it was so innovative! I bet you've never heard of a school called the 'Quest to Learn' where everything you need to know is taught through adventure games on the computer. Or the Cinema School, in which everything is taught through film making!
On Tuesday, we visited the iSchool, which is based on using technology for everything. I shadowed two students during my time there and saw a range of lessons. I remember being in an ICT lesson, in which each student worked on their personalised virtual learning environment called ‘moodle’. The school day soon came to an end, but the work didn’t stop there, as back at the hotel we had to write a blog.
Wednesday was a snow day, so all schools were closed. When it snows in New York, it really snows. This affected our timetable because we were not able to visit the Global Learning Collaborative School, which is a school that focuses on real life learning and tries to combat global issues. One thing that I really wanted to see was the solar panels the students built on their school’s roof to combat global warming. But it did give us extra time to prepare for our presentation on Friday. We also got to go to visit the Guggenheim Museum and Times Square.
Thursday was a very long day for us as we had to visit the first two schools – the first, Harlem’s Children Zone, and the second, KIPP: Infinity (Knowledge Is Power Programme). What I liked and what was common about both schools is that they celebrated achievement a lot. For example, at KIPP: Infinity, you could not see a blank space on the wall because it was filled up with the work and pictures of so many different students. And at Harlem’s Children Zone, some students were rewarded with trips to Paris, the Galapagos Islands, and get this, the Bahamas.
Back at the hotel it was a very rigorous session of rehearsing for our presentation for the Department of Education. Money was up for grabs for the team that did the best presentation. Friday morning came in a flash, and the nerves that started at the hotel followed us all the way to the Department of Education Building. But the nerves did not get the better of us as everybody resented very well on the ‘Learning About Learning – The 12 Ideas Of Learning’ publication by the Commission. The resentation was about what we saw in America that linked to the 12 ideas of learning. All of a sudden it was over. What we came over to America to achieve had been done. And we were back in boring old London on the morning of Saturday 13th February after a week in New York.
But now it is our responsibility, both students and staff, to make sure what was successful in the schools that improved teaching and learning is carried here at Harris Academy Bermondsey, and of course, across the Harris Federation.
Harris Academy Bermondsey