Over recent weeks we have hosted our autumn series of Regional Development Sessions. These sessions were designed to facilitate shared learning between schools and to further support the ongoing development and embedding of YPI. We hosted our first session of the year in Inverness at the Council Chambers, with 27 secondary schools from across Highland and Moray regions in attendance. This was followed by two further sessions: one with our Perth & Kinross schools hosted at Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy; the other with our Edinburgh & East Lothian schools at the Royal Scot’s Club in the heart of the capital. In attendance at all sessions we had Head Teachers, school senior management, YPI lead teachers, students, charity representatives and local authority officers. Conversations were lively, informative and interesting, and it was clear that the opportunity to share learning amongst peers (over a tasty tray bake) was a welcomed and valued opportunity for all.
Across all conversations there were a number of recurring themes and discussions. The following shares a snap shot of what was discussed:
Development & Embedding
A great deal of time was focused on sharing examples of how YPI has developed in school across the years. Central to which was considering:
Opportunities for cross curricular learning & working, with many schools highlighting the cross cutting nature of YPI with respects the ‘big three’ of Literacy, Numeracy, and Health & Wellbeing, alongside other curricular areas including RMPS, Expressive Arts and Social Subjects.
How schools might build upon their YPI experience, and the work their students have undertaken during the programme. Examples included, YPI Alumni acting as mentors for younger peers and/or supporting programme launches and school finals.
Where YPI compliments and sits alongside wider school activity. For example, is YPI a core feature of an overarching skills pipeline of activity from S1 – S6? Does YPI speak directly to school ethos, culture & values?
Whether YPI could support additional accreditation, with many schools already aligning YPI with accreditation including National 4 Literacy, SQA Awards in Region, Beliefs & Values and/or Working With Others, Higher Personal Development, and National Progressions Awards (NPAs).
Whether YPI might also support new or existing activity with respects wider achievement, with a number of well-developed award frameworks aligning with YPI including Saltire Awards, Youth Achievement Awards, and Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
Through discussions it was clear that schools valued the programme resource offer, and the flexible ‘skeleton’ this provided to support each schools individual approach. What we came across was an increase in the number of schools developing bespoke student handbooks to guide learning and manage core programme milestones. As such:
Schools are being actively encouraged to share materials/resources they have developed and found to be supportive of their students’ ‘learning journey’ through YPI.
We will actively populate a specific section of the YPI Scotland website with school generated resource materials. This will include both print resources, and video materials that showcase innovative and creative practice.
Maximising all partnership opportunities afforded by YPI was touched upon at all sessions. The programme clearly supports partnerships between students/schools and the local third sector community, however schools are increasingly looking to maximise value through:
The development and cultivation of local business partnerships and how these might either enhance the delivery of YPI (e.g. business mentors) and/or financially support YPI school partnership funding arrangements.
Aligning YPI with school wide activity focused on Developing the Young Workforce (DYW), and recognising the employability skills central to the YPI experience.
Identifying a clear senior management link within school with responsibility for ensuring YPI is considered and developed in line with wider school activity and national education priorities.
It was very interesting to engage in dialogue with others about how they were approaching YPI and I really did find the micro-presentations inspirational…..
YPI Delivery Teacher, Dornoch Academy
Thank you again to all who have supported and attended recent events. We plan to support a winter series of events over coming months, but if you have any queries in the meantime, we are always at the end of the phone (but be warned once you get us started talking about YPI it’s hard to stop us!).