How do schools use these resources?
Each Progression skills module consists of several active workshops, each designed to last for up to 90 minutes. However, these can be adapted for use as shorter, single workshops and used selectively, with gap tasks for pupils to complete independently. Workshops can be facilitated by a range of possible teachers/tutors, including the G&T leading teacher, the Aim Higher coordinator, form tutors or learning mentors. However, it is important that the same adults work with the group throughout each module, as the workshops are linked and progressive.
The activities can be used with small withdrawal groups of pupils or larger groups, but a minimum membership of six is recommended. The optimum group size is 10 to 15 pupils. The social networks built up in these skills workshops are a key to their success and it is important to try to create new friendships and peer groups by bringing different types of pupil together. For example, passive, compliant pupils could be encouraged to work with more extrovert pupils; bright, under-achieving pupils may benefit from working with highly able pupils.
Schools may wish to consider pooling resources to work collaboratively on providing opportunities for their pupils to work together in the Progression skills workshops. Local authorities may be able to offer Progression skills workshops for groups of schools, to promote links between different communities in their area.
Teachers who run workshops for larger groups will find it helpful to recruit mentors to support small-group and paired work. Non-teaching staff or older learners, for example, Year 12 and Year 13 students, or an undergraduate university ambassador (possibly an ex-pupil) can be briefed for this role.
The key is for every adult in the room to know how to facilitate rather than tell; pupils will be doing the work and practising new skills, with support. They should not be ‘passively’ taught. At every opportunity adults should encourage pupils to think about how the topics and tasks link back to their everyday lives and how they may use what they have learned to change their future.