Applied learning is a style of learning that equips and prepares our young people for life, learning and employment. It is an integral part of the curriculum and is instrumental in many aspects of the Extended Education, including accreditations. It is also cross-curricular through teaching and learning throughout the school. Applied learning provides Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning (REAL) opportunities for students, from which they can build their knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live and develop the essential skills to reach their potential.
The school has an Applied Learning Team led by the Head of Key Stage 5 and has introduced flexible pathways through the curriculum which will enable all learners to move at a pace which best suits them and enables them to be most successful.
We offer a range of work experience opportunities both within the school, group visits and 1:1 supported placements within the local community. Placements are fully supported by the team in the first instance, to enable the pupil to grow in confidence and understand their role, giving them further independence and a sense of 'can do'.
These work placements take a variety of forms:
• Site visits: These are sensory experiences where students can get hands on making pizzas/bread, as well as visits to places within the community to watch/shadow roles within different industries. These give pupils a chance to be involved in a variety of experiences.
• Half-day taster sessions: These give pupils a chance to be involved in a variety of experiences and pupils are fully supported on these visits.
• Long term work placements: Pupils work one day a week for an extended period, typically about 10 weeks. This gives the student a longer routine of work enabling them to become familiar with the process. These roles are ideal starter placements that allow for a nurturing and supported placement where skills can be developed in a more relaxed environment.
• Full time placements for a number of weeks: These placements are typically full time blocks, usually 1 - 2 weeks. This enables students to get the fullest experience of having a full time role and regular routines. These roles are supported and include supermarkets, Children's Centres and office environments.
Applied Learning in School
A range of work related activities take place in school to help to prepare students for the world of work and also for greater independence after leaving school:
• School-based work placements where students get an opportunity to work in different parts of the school such as the school office, with the site manager, ICT support and in the school kitchens.
• Lessons such as Employability, Vocational skills and Enterprise in Extended Education gives students an opportunity to practice work skills in real working situations such as making items to sell in our school gallery, making and serving food in our school café known as the ‘Sweet Pea Patisserie’. There is also an opportunity in KS3 and 4 for students to gain experience of work in lessons such as Theme and Work Related Learning.
• The school has a professional printing department called 'Ubizee' that provides students with the opportunity to cost, set and print customer orders. Pupils are able to produce canvas prints and high quality photographic printing.
• During World of Work Day all pupils have an opportunity to experience different jobs and ways of working. Employers from outside of school and members of school staff provide taster sessions of a wide range of jobs such as joinery, wicker craft, flower arranging, the Fire Service and Police.
In all areas of the curriculum there is an intention to make experiences as useful and as much of a reflection of real life as possible.
Applied Learning in the wider community
In addition to activities in school and work experiences generated by Bury Employment, Support and Training (Bury EST), pupils have further opportunities to practice applied learning in different settings:
• Independent travel: All pupils who are capable of independent travel follow a travel programme to enable them to become as independent as possible. This is a 1:1 supported programme tailored to individual needs and this continues until staff, pupils and parents are all happy that the individual is able to travel independently. At this point they are signed off and can then travel to and from school independently.
• Year 10 Work Experience: This is a programme of work placements for all pupils in Year 10 who spend a week working in a range of different work settings. These placements are tailored to individual needs and abilities, with differing levels of support.
• Farm Skills: The school has an agreement with Cronkshaw Farm in Helmshore. Pupils undertake work placements at the farm either in small groups or in class groups – typically one day a week for half a term. There is also an opportunity for pupils to spend a week at the farm, which gives them a much greater understanding of the range of work required.